Del. Eric Bromwell opposes O’Malley’s Gas Tax

Delegate Eric Bromwell (D-District 8) sent an email to constituents tonight opposing the gas tax proposal that Governor Martin O’Malley and some in the Democratic leadership are pushing for in the 2012 General Assembly. Gas taxes are currently 23.5 cents per gallon. Within three years under the Democratic plan, that tax would leap to 38.5 cents a gallon. This would give Maryland the dubious distinction of having the highest gas tax in the nation. and it gets even worse!

After that increase was phased in over the first three years, it would then automatically tie future gas tax increases to the rate of inflation without requiring any further action by the legislature or governor. As Bromwell correctly notes, this is taxation without representation. He notes that this tax would cost the average driver nearly $80 a year and the average truck driver $3000 a year. Bromwell’s email is below.

Bromwell previously wrote on this subject for

From Bromwell’s email:

During the 2011 General Assembly session, there was a proposal to raise the state tax 10 cents on the current per gallon tax of 23.5 cents. Neither the House nor the Senate approved the bill. Like most people, I thought a 10 cent gas tax increase during the worst recession since the Great Depression was unconscionable. Gas prices were already spiraling upward, and many people were shaking their heads wondering how some legislators could even consider such an increase.

People struggling to keep their jobs and their homes do not need a stiff tax increase on gas. Nevertheless, Governor O’Malley and many in legislative leadership are supporting a 15 cent per gallon increase on the price of gas. This increase would make Maryland’s gas tax the highest in the nation. The plan calls for the tax to be phased in at 5 cents a year for three years. After three years, the gas tax will be tied to inflation. In other words, as inflation increases, the gas tax will increase automatically. No vote to approve these increases will have to be taken. THE GAS TAX WILL INCREASE AUTOMATICALLY!

Talk about taxation without representation! There is no way I can vote for this gas tax increase, an increase that will cost the average driver $77.55 a year. According to the Maryland Motor Truck Association, it will cost a single truck driver $3,000 a year, a cost that will be passed on to consumers for the rising cost of consumer goods that the truck delivers.

Maryland citizens are dead set against any gas tax increase in any amount. A recent survey taken of Democrat, Republican and Independent voters showed that 78% opposed a 10 cent gas tax increase and 59% opposed a 5 cent increase. One can only imagine the percentage opposed to a 15 cent increase.

It is estimated that the gas tax increase will generate from $500 million to $800 million annually in new revenue. The revenue will go to the Transportation Trust Fund to pay for vital transportation projects. However, people have little faith in the Fund being used strictly for transportation projects. The Transportation Trust Fund was created in 1971 to pay for transportation projects. However, in the past 20 years, Governors have taken money from the fund 12 times to balance the budget. According to the Department of Transportation, a total of $671 million has been taken from the fund. Some of it has never been repaid. I strongly support and have already co-sponsored legislation to prohibit the fund from being used for anything other than transportation projects.

Those who support the gas tax increase say the bill will create transportation construction jobs and stimulate infrastructure investment. But no matter what they call it, the fact remains that it’s an unwelcome tax increase on Maryland drivers. I will be voting against any gas tax increase, in any amount, when the Legislature convenes in January for the 2012 Legislative Session.

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