Governor O’Malley Supporting Sales Tax on Gasoline

Today, Governor O’Malley announced his support for the state sales tax to apply to gasoline sales, a measure different from that previously discussed by a task force on transportation funding.

The Governor broke his decision in an interview on WTOP radio — their online coverage is here. From WTOP:

While speaking on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor,” Martin O’Malley said he would like to “phase out” the sales tax exemption on gas, which would allow a percentage tax on the fuel in additon to the existing 23 cent flat tax.

The current flat tax has not changed since the early 1990s when gasoline was about $1.08, the governor says, adding the regional arteries wouldn’t be so clogged if the state had more to invest in transportation infrastructure.

“The best option…is to get away from the flat, per-gallon tax and instead move to a percentage,” O’Malley said. The outdated scheme “is why we have one of the most congested metropolitan areas in the country.”

That won’t change on its own, he said. The gas tax is the state’s primary means of funding transportation projects, and no other resources are as impactful.

No word yet on whether the implementing legislation would re-establish the historic 30% share of transportation revenues distributed to local governments for locally managed roads and bridges.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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