MARYLAND

O'Malley proposes increased gas tax to support transportation funds

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With gas prices hovering in the $3 range, Marylanders offer mixed opinions on the need for higher gas taxes even if the money goes to transportation.

“I’m against it. I mean, I drive every day for a living probably, close to 200 miles, so a big part of that is going to dig into my income,” says Patrick Thompson.

“If you consider how much damage that potholes do to your car I think we need better roads here,” says Kimberly Stack.

Now that the Maryland General Assembly has been gaveled into session, the dealmaking and arm twisting begins on issues ranging from a repeal of the death penalty to gun control and approval for a large wind energy farm off the coast of Ocean City, but the most controversial issue may be Governor Martin O’Malley’s idea of a tax increase to support transportation funding.

“We’re all going to waste more money and more time and gasoline sitting in traffic unless we make better choices,” says Governor O’Malley.

Last year the governor proposed phasing in a 6 percent tax hike on gasoline over three years. The measure failed and now he says a number of proposals are on the table, including a one percent general sales tax hike with the proceeds dedicated to transportation needs. Republicans and many democrats say it will be a tough fight to pass any tax increase.

“We don’t need any new taxes until we get out of this economic situation we are in,” says Delegate Anthony O’Donnell, (R) Calvert County.

It’s a divide reflected among the people the politicians represent.

“If they need to do it they need to do it,” says Agnes Powell. “Have to pay taxes if you want better roads. “

“I think we pay enough taxes,” says William Edwards.

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