O'Malley favors sales tax on gas

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Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said Monday that he favors tacking a sales tax onto gasoline purchases rather than a long-discussed proposal to raise the state’s excise gas tax.

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, said during an interview with WTOP that he would favor phasing in a 6-percent sales tax on gas to help fund transportation projects and road and transit improvements. The governor has said he is considering introducing a transportation funding package in this year’s General Assembly.

A state commission recommended last year that lawmakers raise the 23.5-cents-a-gallon excise tax by 15 cents a gallon, using 5-cent increases in each of the next three years. The rate has not been changed since 1992, which some lawmakers argue has contributed to lagging transportation revenues.

The excise tax is charged on gas suppliers and would likely result in higher consumer prices, while a sales tax would be charged directly to consumers at the pump.

Regular gas in Maryland currently costs an average of $3.48 a gallon, according to AAA. A 6-percent sales tax would tack about 21 cents onto the price.

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