- - Friday, August 8, 2014

On May 7, 2009, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law HB 315, the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2009, requiring the state of Maryland to achieve a 25 percent reduction in emissions by the year 2020. As is typical in Annapolis, this bill passed and was signed into law without any clear plan as to how it would be paid for.

The Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Department of the Environment were tasked with developing an action plan outlining how to pay for this unfunded mandate. The result is the Maryland Climate Action Plan of 2012. Not surprisingly, the plan is littered with fee and tax increases on Maryland taxpayers.

It makes specific reference to the transportation sector, stating: “Achieving a significant reduction in GHG emissions from the transportation sector will be critical to supporting the requirements articulated in HB 315. … There are two primary options for consideration: (1) an increase in the per-gallon motor-fuel tax consistent with alternatives under consideration by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding, and (2) establish a GHG emission-based road user fee (or VMT fee) statewide by 2020 in addition to existing motor-fuel taxes.” Basically paying for HB 315 will require an increase in the gas tax and a Vehicle Mileage Tax (VMT).

State delegate candidate Sue Kullen voted for HB 315, but claims that she does not support the Vehicle Miles Traveled tax, one of the state’s key recommendations to pay for it. Ms. Kullen, seeking to return to the General Assembly, previously voted for a bill that costs a lot of money to implement. Which fee and tax increases will she vote for in order to pay for HB 315? Enough is enough.

Whether it’s the VMT or any other tax or fee increase outlined in the state’s plan, the fact of the matter is that Calvert taxpayers are sick of the tax increases. We are sick of politicians who will vote for reckless policies and then increase our taxes in order to pay for them.

STEVEN JOHNSON

Huntingtown, Md.