BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot is among those urging state and national leaders to temporarily suspend gas taxes.
“We have to do something,” Franchot, who is running for governor, said Thursday at a gas station in northwest Baltimore.
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The state already had a 30-day gas tax “holiday” in March and April, suspending its 36-cent-a-gallon tax. Gasoline costs are expected to rise 6 cents a gallon to offset inflation on July 1st.
“We need help,” said Pastor Rodney Hudson. “We need it now. Not tomorrow, because tomorrow is too late.”
President Joe Biden has called for the suspension of the 18-cent-a-gallon national gas tax, but has met bipartisan opposition in Congress.
The taxes are mostly used to finance transport projects. Franchot says the state’s surplus and increase in consumer spending could be used to offset the $100 million-per-month loss in revenue.
“People need relief, you know. These gas prices are out of control,” said Terrence Chapman of Baltimore. “Refueling used to be much easier. It’s terrible now. Twenty bucks won’t get you anywhere.”
In a joint statement, Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones have refused to call a special session to discuss another gas tax holiday, instead urging Congress to act.
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“The Maryland General Assembly has already done exactly what President Biden is proposing at the federal level: instituted a temporary pause in the state gas tax while replenishing our Transportation Trust Fund to ensure the maintenance of our roads and bridges,” the joint statement said. “States cannot unilaterally shoulder the burden of higher gas prices, partly due to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine and partly to the greed of record-breaking oil companies.”
The Republican caucus of the Maryland House of Representatives asked the chairmen to call a special session of the General Assembly.
“Today, leaders at all levels of government and across the political spectrum see gas tax suspension as a way to help citizens cope with soaring gas prices,” Del said. Jason Buckel, R-Allegany, in a statement. “The time for that is now.”
While refueling on Thursday, Michael Eugene Johnson blamed oil companies. He said it’s time to get serious about electric vehicles.
“We have to start thinking long-term. We need to start thinking about what’s best for the next generation,” Johnson said. “It seems to me that we are being fleeced by the big gas companies.”
Baltimore resident Barry Chatha agreed.
“It’s tough out here, man,” Chatha said. “At these prices, it’s really difficult.”
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Democratic gubernatorial candidates on calls to suspend gas tax:
- “Governor Hogan and Peter Franchot are again calling for a meaningless solution to rising gas prices to make it sound like they’re doing something to help Maryland residents.” John King said. “Spoiler alert: you’re not. Her proposed second gas tax holiday is a gimmick that won’t really solve Marylanders’ problem of high gas prices. It’s simply not a long-term solution to the problems that drove prices up in the first place, lets price-boosting oil majors off the hook, and won’t really significantly lower the cost consumers pay at the pump. We must act urgently to permanently reduce energy costs for Maryland residents and address the climate emergency. That includes moving away from gas-powered cars, dramatically improving and expanding public transit, building 10,000 charging stations, and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035—all things we can achieve with the right leadership.”
- “Marylanders need relief at the pump and they’re sick of this bickering and shaking.” Doug Gansler said. “As the only pragmatic Democrat in the running, given the current inflationary pressures and the fact that we are sitting in an historic surplus, I am against any tax increase. Governor Hogan can declare a state of emergency and issue an executive order suspending gas taxes. A special session is not required and would be a waste of taxpayers’ money. I also find it interesting that Comptroller Peter Franchot, who has never had to pay a tax he didn’t like, is conveniently asking for tax breaks now that he’s running for governor.”
- “Marylanders are suffering at the gas pump, but another gas tax holiday is just a gimmick. Although it could temporarily lower prices, it comes at the cost of depleting revenue needed for critical infrastructure projects like highway and bridge repairs.” jon baron said. “It also undercuts the state’s clean energy targets and, once the holiday is over, could cause an inflationary shock to the economy, further hurting Maryland consumers.” As for the planned July 1 gas tax hike, with Maryland gas prices up 50 cents over the past few months, now is not the time for an inflation adjustment to the gas tax. I support the temporary postponement of this six cent adjustment until gas prices stabilize.”