Senate President's Gas Tax Remark Draws GOP Response
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert) has long said that Maryland will probably need to raise its gas tax in the next legislative term if the state has any hope of meeting its transportation priorities. But as election year approaches, he's getting push-back from Republicans, with the loudest criticism coming from his likely GOP opponent next year.
On Tuesday, Miller told business leaders in Frederick that if Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is reelected, raising the tax will be a big order of business during in the first year of the new term. He acknowledged that it would be a political unpopular vote for the General Assembly. Miller said federal stimulus money can't come close to covering the state's road and transit needs.
Maryland's gas tax has stayed at 23.5 cents a gallon since 1992.
"We're paving I-270 with stimulus money," Miller told the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, according to an account in the Frederick News Post. "All we're doing is repaving. All we're doing is maintenance,"
Republican Ron Miller, a conservative blogger who has said he plans to file papers next month to run for Miller's Southern Maryland Senate seat in the 2010 election, didn't miss a beat.
"The fact he's continuing to push for it as an election year approaches, and the word "tax" is an expletive given the double whammy Marylanders are getting from the federal government and the one-party monopoly in Annapolis, shows he's got a lot of chutzpah." Miller wrote on Red County, a conservative blog.
Mike Miller is the country's longest-serving Senate president, and it's hard to imagine him being vulnerable in his Prince George's-Calvert County district. But things are already getting interesting.
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