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Hogan implores Maryland comptroller to deter summer gas tax hike

Maryland’s governor is urging the comptroller to think long and hard about the state’s gas tax this summer before ordering any increase.

Gov. Larry Hogan is asking Comptroller Peter Franchot to take immediate steps that would either stop or lessen the impact the legislatively passed gas tax.

According to a release, the comptroller, through 2013 legislation, is to calculate and announce any gas tax increases each year before June 1. That announced gas tax would go into effect July 1 and is calculated by the comptroller’s office.

“This tax increase, while hardship-inducing for Marylanders at any time, is simply unconscionable at this moment when gas prices are already at their highest level in recorded history amid a period of prolonged inflation and economic uncertainty,” Hogan wrote in a letter to the comptroller. “I know that you agree we should do more to give Marylanders a break from these punishing prices. That is why it is my hope that you will use every legal and regulatory power at your disposal to halt or minimize the impact of the accelerating gas taxes, and that you consider granting an extension for paying the taxes and removing penalties for unpaid tax, including the revocation of business licenses.”

Maryland was the first state to approve a gas tax suspension this year amid rising gas prices that have been setting a new record for high prices over the past two weeks.

The state suspended its 36.1 cents per gallon gas tax on March 18, in addition to a 36.85 cents per gallon tax on diesel fuel for a 30-day period.

Hogan cited in the Tuesday letter that the “comptroller has been a strong advocate” for protecting the state’s population from rising gas taxes. The governor wrote that in the past, the comptroller’s office has taken precautions to protect residents from tax deadlines and other burdens.

Hogan pointed out the comptroller, earlier this year, extended income tax filing and payment due dates for the third straight year and pushed out tax payment due dates to provide taxpayers with “breathing room” to those who were financially struggling to make ends meet, the release said.

“Given shaky oil markets, record inflation, and a skyrocketing cost of living, the continued surges in gas prices are inflicting more pain at the pump than Marylanders can bear,” the governor wrote, according to the release. “I am calling on you to take immediate action to provide much-needed relief, particularly as citizens of our state begin to plan their summer travels.”

The governor also pointed out, the release reads, that in 2015 the General Assembly rejected Hogan’s proposed legislation that would eliminate the gas tax increases that were because of inflation. Plus, the Legislature, Hogan pointed out, “failed to act” on repealing a portion of the gas tax through next year.

This article was originally posted on Hogan implores Maryland comptroller to deter summer gas tax hike

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