Governor O’Malley Discusses 2012 Legislative Agenda with Reporters

During a roundtable discussion on Thursday, December 29, Governor O’Malley highlighted the successes of his administration over the past year and discussed, in broad terms, his legislative agenda for the 2012 session. As reported by

Gov. Martin O’Malley told reporters Thursday that “yes, perhaps” tax hikes would be part of next year’s proposed budget as part of a “balanced approach,” but he declined to be more specific.

With respect to the gas tax –

Meanwhile, he said some sort of increase in the gas tax might be necessary since the flat 23 cents per gallon has been in effect for 20 years. He tied the gas tax hike to plans to spend more on highway and transit construction to create construction jobs.

The Governor also discussed septics and Chesapeake Bay Restoration fees.  As reported by the Star Democrat:

During the last General Assembly session, O’Malley called for a ban on septic systems in new major subdivisions to combat pollution of the Chesapeake Bay. A special committee assigned to study the issue released its findings in December, and O’Malley wants the proposed ban discussed again in the upcoming session.

One concern with the original proposal was a major subdivision comprises just five or more houses but during his roundtable discussion Thursday, O’Malley said the issue is mega-developments of 100 or more homes. He said the science is clear: Septic systems pollute local waterways.

O’Malley said there is talk of raising the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund tax commonly called the flush tax on users of wastewater treatment facilities. While some state lawmakers have said the tax may be doubled or tripled, the governor said he wants to look into changing how people are charged altogether.

O’Malley does not know what any final proposal may be for the flush tax, but he said the flat rate structure should be reviewed. He said those living in small homes and using less water should not necessarily being paying the same rates as those living in large “McMansions.”

Additional coverage can be found in the Baltimore Business Journal and the Gazette.

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