Annapolis – Today members of the House Republican Caucus made it clear that Maryland does not need a gas tax hike, but instead needs a responsible plan that addresses the actual needs of its citizens.
“As a caucus, we are appalled that Democratic leaders would again ask taxpayers to pay more when they have done nothing to curb spending and responsibly steward existing transportation revenue,” said House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell.
“If Democrats want more money for transportation, they need to stop raiding the Transportation Trust Fund,” commented Delegate Susan Krebs. “That is why we are proposing a Constitutional amendment that protects the trust fund from future raids. The bill that the Senate President has introduced does not go far enough to truly protect the Transportation Trust Fund.”
Earlier this month, Senate President Mike Miller introduced two bills on transportation. The first bill (SB 829) claims to protect the transportation trust fund, but in reality simply codifies the continued raids. The other (SB 830) adds a 3% sales tax on gasoline which, at current prices, equals a 10 cent per gallon tax hike.
“The problem is not a lack of money,” said Delegate Herb McMillan. “Transportation Trust Fund spending is out of alignment with Marylanders’ transportation needs. The vast majority of trust fund revenue comes from motorists, but the operating budget spends twice as much on mass transit than roads, which is only used by 8.8% of commuters. We don’t need more revenue. What we need is to ensure that revenues from motorists are spent on highways, and not on mass transit projects that most of them will never use.”
“Contrary to what the O’Malley Administration continues to say, over $1 billion taken from the Transportation Trust Fund has yet to be repaid,” said Delegate Andrew Serafini. “We are calling on the Governor to repay those monies over the next three years. The Governor introduced a budget that increases spending by $500 million. If we truly have a transportation crisis, we should take $300 million of that increase and use it to restore transportation dollars. Rather than force citizens to pay more, we should do better managing the dollars we have already taken.”
“Gas prices are projected to be over $4 per gallon by the spring,” said House Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio. “This will have a ripple effect throughout the economy. As legislators we should be looking for solutions that make things easier for our citizens, not more difficult.”
Click here for the press release document.