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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.

By Lisa Rein  |  June 25, 2009; 11:32 AM ET
Categories:  Lisa Rein  
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how much taxes can the people take...
it's time to throw out the tax and spenders...
you can do so this year...
go for it...

Posted by: DwightCollins | June 25, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

As a fiscal conservative, I'm actually in favor of a gas tax hike. What's wrong with a user fee? Don't raise other taxes, and use the hike only to fund roads and Metro (?), but a gas tax is a user fee and an appropriate one.

I'd like to see some of the other programs cut, but gas tax for road and transit spending seems like where it has to happen.

Posted by: DCCenturion | June 25, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

DwightCollins wrote:
how much taxes can the people take...
it's time to throw out the tax and spenders...

And how much more dilapidated infrastructure can we take? How many more metro crashes and deaths do you want to be responsible for, DwightCollins? If you don't care, then please do not use my roads. Do not call my fire departments. Do not ask your military to defend you. Let the corporate free market solve your problems. I'm happy to contribute to my country. I have no problem with being an active participant in progress. Hope your for-profit health care doesn't deny your claim.

Posted by: swatkins1 | June 25, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

We just raised the state sales tax 20%, the car tax 20%, the corporate tax 18, and the top income tax 52.6%. Can't some of this new money be used for transportation?

Posted by: robinficker | June 25, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Enough with the one-issue platform from the GOP. You use the roads? Pay for them!

Posted by: jckdoors | June 25, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

We do pay for the roads. The issue isn't gas tax and over road tax, but the continuation of municipal, state and federal governments designating a tax for a specific use then using the general fund for anything they want. It's like giving banks bailout cash and them doing what they want with the money. If you raise the gas tax and move the money to anti-drug programs it doesn't matter what the gas tax is the roads are not getting fixed. I don't trust any politician to do what they say so I don't want to give ANY of them my money. Make all the roads toll roads for all I care, just stop the governemnt ponzi scheme of tax and borrow and overspend for non-nessacities.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | June 25, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Cut spending.


Posted by: NeverLeft | June 25, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

In Montgomery County 23% of the public school teachers make at least $90,000 before benefits. Drug co-pays for county employees are $5; mine are $65. Over 90% of county police who retire do so on tax-free disability, costing the taxpayers huge sums. If we cut the teachers back to $89,000, increase the co-pays to $10 and decrease the police disability retirements to 80%, there would be enough savings to pay for transportation. But our leaders in Annapolis have never seen a program they could cut.

Posted by: MrBethesda | June 25, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we are a one-topic party - "It's your money, not theirs."

Posted by: | June 26, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

A gas-tax makes sense. Mr. Miller, get it done! GOP whining carries no weight with the majority of Maryland voters.

Besides, I thought the GOP was dead...I mean this is Maryland, NOT South Carolina...Oh yeah...Oops!


Posted by: free-donny | June 26, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Free-Donny has never seen a tax he didn't want to hike. Come on Don, is there one recent tax hike, of all those we have had, that you opposed?

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | June 27, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Ficker, you have only one tune, but I admit you play it well, sir.

I oppose ALL tax hikes unless they can be avoided without sacrificing quality of life for citizens.

That is my logic. What is yours? Believe me, I am NOT trying to cut into anyone's Exxon stock profits. This tax makes sense, and the county and state are revenue-poor.

The GOP, neocons and other folks who sing your tune need to realize that no on likes tax hikes...but we have ONE country and it is worth paying taxes to keep afloat. If I am wrong, I am always ready to read your thoughts.

Posted by: free-donny | June 28, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

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