Governor Offers Support for Gas Tax Increase and Streamlining Business Regulations to Create Jobs

During a press conference the first day of the Special Session, Governor O’Malley stated that he would support increased transportation taxes to fund infrastructure projects to create jobs and a review of state regulations that can be eliminated to spur job creation. As reported by the Washington Post:

O’Malley said the General Assembly must begin considering a 15-cent increase to Maryland’s gas tax to fund road construction, public transit and other transportation projects. The governor also suggested he would seek an unspecified expansion to the state’s capital budget to fund school construction and other infrastructure needs when the General Assembly convenes in January.“What we have to figure out is whether we are willing to pay another penny in order to bring those things about, or another nickel, or another dime, or as Gus Bauman and his commission is recommending, another 15 cents,” O’Malley said, referencing the chair of the state’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding, who on Tuesday is expected to testify in favor of raising the state’s gas tax to keep its underfunded transportation trust fund solvent.

However, increasing the gas tax has not been met with broad support.  As reported by the Baltimore Sun:

Some lawmakers were quick to answer that they’re not willing to raise taxes at all.

“Families are hurting.. . . yet the governor keeps trying to pass increase after increase after increase. Enough’s enough,” said state Sen. E. J. Pipkin, an Eastern Shore Republican. “What planet is the governor living on?”

The Governor also issued an Executive Order calling for a 60 day review of State business regulations. As reported by the Gazette:

We intend to use this special session to build consensus necessary to pass the strongest capital budget that we possibly can in the General Assembly session, the regular session, which is just around the corner,” O’Malley said. “And to continue whatever other measures we can to do everything in our power to create and save jobs, to support employers and to create an environment in which they can create and save jobs.”

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