Feeling pain at the pump? If you think gas costs too much now, brace yourself for the Governor's new idea.
O'Malley announced his plan to add a 6 percent sales tax to gasoline. If passed, Maryland would have one of the highest gas taxes in the nation. I believe this tax hike is a completely misguided attack on the middle class.
With the current retail price of gas at about $3.50 per gallon, the sales tax means an additional 21 cents on every gallon sold. This almost doubles the current gas tax of 23.5 cents. We know that fuel prices are likely to rise. As they do, the gas tax will keep increasing.
The majority of gas tax revenues are supposed to go to the Transportation Trust Fund, designated for highways. However, O'Malley and previous governors have repeatedly raided the Transportation Trust Fund to cover unrelated budget deficits. In 2010 alone, $370 million was taken from the Transportation Trust Fund. Repairing highways and relieving congestion are very important, but can we trust the Administration to use the higher gas taxes for roads when they have failed to do so in the past?
Even though the majority of Marylanders drive to work, most of the gas tax money would pay for expense public transportation systems. Yet, only 7 percent of workers use mass transit. Public transportation systems serving Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are inefficient and unprofitable. By law, they are supposed to be self-sustaining with fare box receipts, but they are not. If passed, the gas tax would benefit residents of urban areas more than the drivers who pay the higher taxes.
O'Malley calls his tax hike a "tough choice." I think the real tough choice, the choice we should make is to learn to live within our means.