Thursday, March 21, 2013

MD House Passes Gas...

The Maryland House of Delegates on Wednesday gave Gov. Martin O’Malley’s transportation funding plan preliminary approval, indicating it will likely pass legislation to hike gas prices starting this summer.

After the House Ways and Means Committee made sweeping changes to the bill earlier this week, Democrats held off Republican efforts to weaken the bill’s effect on taxpayers.

The full House is expected to vote on the legislation by the end of the week.

Under the plan, taxpayers would gradually start to pay more than the 23.5-cent-per-gallon excise tax they pay now.

The revised plan would add nearly 4 cents per gallon in total taxes in July. In 2017, taxpayers would be paying around 21 cents more per gallon than they’re paying today, according to an analysis by the Department of Legislative Services.
Yep, we need some money to fix the roads, but do we need taxes on gas to double in 5 years?  Do we need twice as much road work as is going on now?  I don't think so.  I think they're "boiling the frog."

One ongoing problem in Maryland is that money collected for specific purposes (e.g. the "Flush Tax", fishing licenses and boat registrations) tend to be swept into the general fund and spent on increasing the size of the government.  Then when the "specific purposes" need more money again, it's time to raise the tax.
Some griped that the plan’s “lockbox” provision, intended to deter use of the funds for nontransportation purposes, is weak.

Under House Bill 1515, the governor could use the funds for such purposes only if he had the support of three-fifths of the full standing committee assigned the legislation in the House and Senate. If the money was used that way, there would be a five-year repayment requirement.
Until they pass the law to breakchange  that law...

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