Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

MD Gas Tax – The “Gift” That Keeps On Taking?

Posted by Ed C on Sunday, March 18, 2007

MD Senate President Mike Miller (D Calvert & Prince George’s Counties) with SB949 is proposing a 50% increase in the MD State gas tax from 23.5 to 35.5 cents and it could raise to 39.5 cents per gallon.

Why the range? Well, Sen. Miller realizes that raising taxes is unpopular. So, instead of requiring our elected representatives to go on the record for an unpopular position in the future, this tax will be index to the whole sale price of fuel. Fuel prices rise and so does the tax. No vote required.

Being cynical, this will provide also provide political cover for the future. If fuel prices rise above the proposed 39.5 cent cap, the tax can be increased by just raising the cap, not by changing the tax. This will allow political denialability, “We didn’t raise the tax, we just raised the limit.” See, magically taxes can go up, but “we” didn’t vote for a tax increase so don’t blame us.

If our elected representatives want to spend 30+ billion dollars a year of our money, they can at least go on the record each and every time they want more. If forced to take an unpopular position and raise taxes maybe, just maybe, they might find a dollar or two that may not be an essential government function. I know this is Maryland, but…

Our elected representative should be willing to take a stand, not looking for ways to make their position easier. If you think raising the gas tax is a good idea, vote for it. If you want to raise it in the future, vote for it again.

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