“It’s a historic 18% increase:” MD consumers could see gas tax increase, leaders trying to stop it

MARYLAND– Could another state gas tax holiday be in Maryland’s future soon? Well some leaders are pushing for one as prices at the pump remain high.

“I can’t tell you how popular the gas tax holiday was for 30 days and we should extend that because it’s not just the inflation increase, it’s the primary tax itself,” Comptroller Peter Franchot said.

Another state gas tax holiday through September 30, is just one of the ideas Comptroller Peter Franchot has in mind as Maryland could soon see the largest gas tax increase in the state’s history. It’s scheduled to take place July 1. Consumers can expect this because under legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2013 there’s an automatic increase in gas tax each year.

“It’s a historic 18% increase and it’s going to be coming on the heels of so much inflation,” Comptroller Franchot said. “The legislature 10 years ago tied it into the inflation rate. For years, we had almost no inflation, nobody even noticed it. All of sudden we have a big spike in inflation.”

With concerns at the pump, Governor Larry Hogan called on Comptroller Franchot to stop the automatic increase.

“I asked all my lawyers, I called Attorney General Brian Frosh, I spoke to him directly he said emphatically I just don’t have that kind of regulatory or statutory flexibility given to me by the legislature,” Comptroller Franchot said.

Comptroller Franchot told us he and the Governor agree action needs to be taken, but there’s a concern with who can make that happen.

“We need the legislature to be clear because right now its murky as far as who’s in charge,” Comptroller Franchot said.

Comptroller Franchot sent a letter to Governor Hogan urging a special General Assembly Session to pass emergency legislation granting the Comptroller the authority to waive the 18% increase. Delegate Wayne Hartman said in the past some members of the General Assembly tried to eliminate it.

“The bill was heard in committee and never voted out of committee,” Del. Hartman said. ” If it happens, I’ll certainly welcome that but the expense of a special session could’ve been avoided.”

Delegate Hartman said the Republican House Caucus will be sending a letter in the future asking for a special session to address the automatic gas tax. He added while he is in support of the special session happening, he’s also in favor of a gas tax holiday.

“We need to act now and help Maryland families,” Del. Hartman said.

While it’s uncertain how things will play out, one resident we spoke is hopeful it won’t continue to break the bank each fill at the pump.

“We just filled up today, this car and it was $80; we just did a trip to New England two weeks ago and a thousand miles almost $200 worth of gas. So very concerned about that,” Roger Cook, a Maryland resident, said.

Cook also thinks that while state leaders are trying to be proactive, he thinks federal leaders of the country need to step up as well.

” I just think we in the United States we need to open up oil production again, I know we are trying to eliminate green house gases but right at the moment its putting a strain on everybody,” Cook said.

47abc did reach out to the Governors office on the Comptroller asking his thoughts to have a special session, but his office didn’t get back with us in time of air. Comptroller Franchot tells 47ABC his office will wait to hear back on what the next steps could be.

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