Md. Gas Tax Targeted As State Revenues Surge

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Maryland revenue projections for the current and upcoming fiscal years have been revised upward by $1.6-billion, prompting more calls to provide Marylanders with tax relief.

The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates (Comptroller Peter Franchot, Treasurer Dereck Davis and Budget Secretary David Brinkley) voted Thursday to increase revenue projections to $22.5-billion for Fiscal Year 2022, up $867-million from December estimates. Projections for FY ’23 now check in at $23.6-billion, up $737-million.

According to analysts, the increase is largely attributable to individual and corporate income tax collections from tax year 2021, and higher sales tax receipts.

Franchot, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor this year, called upon Republican Governor Larry Hogan and the General Assembly to suspend the state gas tax for three months. Franchot has previously called for increased aid to small businesses and child care providers as well as direct stimulus checks for low-wage earners and recipients of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

“There is still a large group of Marylanders who are not feeling or getting their fair share of the economic prosperity that the vast majority of Marylanders are experiencing. The economic fault lines that existed before COVID-19 forced our economy to shut down remain large, and for so many of our friends and neighbors who are in low-wage jobs. They continue to suffer from the devastation of this pandemic without much hope of turning things around,” Franchot said. “That’s why today, I’m renewing my call for the General Assembly to pass a second round of economic stimulus to benefit low-wage earners, small businesses, and childcare providers who continue to struggle. I’m talking about $2,000 emergency survival checks for our low-wage earners and EITC recipients… especially as global supply chain issues and inflation have significantly impacted their cost-of-living expenses and basic necessities like food, rent, and transportation. I’m talking about $500 million in aid for our small businesses, particularly our minority-owned businesses and women-owned businesses that were the hardest hit by the economic consequences of this pandemic. And I’m talking about $500 million to help our childcare providers… at a time when hundreds of them were forced to shutter their doors for good, and at a time when the cost to affordable, reliable childcare continues to be out of reach for thousands of Maryland families across our state.”

In a statement, Hogan also indicated support for a gas tax holiday:

“Today’s incredible revenue estimates increase our already record surplus and reinforce the fact that Maryland continues to have one of the strongest recoveries in America. This report further proves that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance substantial tax relief for our families, small businesses, and retirees. People across the country are being squeezed by surging inflation on everything from gas to groceries⁠—Marylanders, especially our retirees, deserve and need this relief. In addition, at this time of global uncertainty due to Russian aggression, we are working with our legislative partners on an emergency suspension of the gas tax to help with the pain at the pump. We also support ongoing efforts in the legislature to suspend automatic increases in the gas tax. And I have called on the Biden administration to increase domestic energy production to help lower costs. Now more than ever, we must come together to take bold, bipartisan action,” Hogan said.

Republican leaders in the Maryland General Assembly also highlighted the growing surplus as they continued their push for tax relief for Marylanders.

“Marylanders need and deserve tax cuts right now,” House Minority Leader Jason Buckel, R-Allegany Co. said. “Inflation is at 7.9%, the highest in forty years. Gas prices are setting historic highs and are rising daily. Our citizens are struggling every day while politicians in Annapolis are sitting on a pot of taxpayer dollars, doling them out to their pet projects and special interests. The most important interest group in our eyes are Maryland’s taxpayers and we should give them their money back.”

“With huge and growing surpluses in the Maryland state budget, I continue to urge Gov. Hogan to include a $1,000 relief payment to each and every Maryland taxpayer,” Delegate Kathy Szeliga, R-Baltimore Co. / Harford Co. said. “Taxpayers have clearly been overcharged and families are being crushed by gas prices, food prices, and rising energy costs. There are less than 3,000,000 taxpayers in Maryland and a $1,000 check would only utilize half of the surplus.”

“The best thing to do with that money is to send it back to the people who paid for that huge surplus; taxpayers.”

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