- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 3, 2015

New gas tax hikes across five states, including Virginia and Maryland, will increase overall prices starting Jan. 1.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles says the gas tax jumped form 3.5 percent to 5.1 percent, which means drivers will pay an extra five cents per gallon at the pump.

Drivers in Maryland will pay about three cents more per gallon thanks to the new tax.

Many drivers across the country are not happy about the increased tax, which Congress has agreed to due to the increased gas supply that has created lower prices.

“Truly depressing how some people keep wanting to reach into other people’s pockets,” Cindy Cooper of Arizona tweeted Saturday.

“Corker (R-TN) is pushing a raise in gas tax to fill a transportation budget shortfall. Guess he forgot about idle earmarks, huh?” Radio host and blogger Michelle Ray tweeted.

Many conservatives place the blame on Sen. Bob Corker. Mr. Corker and Connecticut Democrat, Sen. Chris Murphy put forth a proposal in June to increase the gas tax by 12 cents over the next two years.

“If something like this is going to be done, now is the time to do it,” Mr. Corker told the New York Times.

Conservatives who fought tax increases when gas prices hovered at $4 a gallon now must contend with more officials who say that new taxes will fund the nation’s roadways and public transit systems.

“While nobody likes a tax increase, obviously it comes at a time with falling gas prices, and, in fact, our projections show that prices will continue to [moderately fall] offsetting this tax that consumers will see,” Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne told local Hampton Roads news channel Wavy 10.

Ms. Layne added that the five cent gas increase in Virginia is expected to bring in $120 million a year.

New Year gas tax hikes also kicked in on Jan 1. for Pennsylvania, with a 9.8 percent increase, and Florida with a smaller .3 percent increase.

North Carolina has one of the nation’s highest gas taxes. Although the state only increased the tax by one penny starting New Year’s Day, drivers in the state pay 37.5 cents extra in tax per gallon.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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