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February 2, 2012

A Deeper Reach into Marylandersí Pocket

Blaine R. Young

I guess I should never be surprised when news comes out from the O’Malley Administration that we can expect even more new state taxes and increases in those we already have. But this time our old friend Martin has really outdone himself.


On WTOP Radio this week the governor said that he will propose legislation to move Maryland away from the traditional flat per-gallon tax on gasoline to one based on a percentage of the price, like the sales tax. He is proposing a 6% sales tax on gasoline and other fuels. According to the governor, this would protect transportation revenues from being eroded by inflation.


There are a couple of problems with his logic on this. In the first place, he is not – as he says – abolishing the traditional flat tax on gasoline. The new 6% sales tax on gasoline would be on top of the current 23.5 cent Maryland tax on every gallon of gas.


Secondly, he still has not proposed any protective measures to ensure that the money collected by the state at the pump will actually be set aside and used only for transportation projects, and not be raided – to be added to the general fund to pay for more bloated social programs that are so favored by our so-called “leaders” in Annapolis.


Of course, this new gas tax Governor O’Malley proposes is not the only tax increase he wants the legislature to rubberstamp during this legislative session. He has also proposed increases in the income tax, the flush tax and even suggested raising the statewide sales tax from 6% to 7%. If there has ever been an example of a politician who never met a tax he didn’t like, it is our current governor.


It has been said that this governor has his eyes fixed so firmly on a run for national office in 2016 that he has become completely blind to the struggles of everyday Marylanders to merely get by in the present economy. House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell (R., Southern Maryland) went so far as to say that the governor is out of touch with our small businesses, many of whom are struggling right now to make their payrolls and keep their businesses open. The O’Malley tax-n-spend philosophy may have worked when money was rolling in, but it will be the death knell for business and the economy in Maryland if he is allowed to put it into place.


Let’s go back to the proposed new sales tax on gasoline for a moment.


A local Frederick gasoline station owner, Joe Parsley at Frederick Shell on the Golden Mile, has estimated that, at current prices, with the new 6% sales tax (in addition to the existing 42 cent state/federal per gallon tax) his station alone would be collecting approximately one-half million dollars in additional tax on behalf of the state. He estimates that it would cost him over $9,000 annually to collect this tax for Governor O’Malley and his pals, just another expense on a small business that is trying to make ends meet in this economy.


The Soviet Union may be no more, but the great socialist State of Maryland chugs along.


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