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Maryland comptroller calls for special session to stop gas tax increase

Maryland’s comptroller is calling for a special session of the General Assembly to discuss the state’s anticipated gas tax increase.

Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat who is running for governor, sent a letter to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan this week, along with Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore County, and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, D-Baltimore County, to discuss emergency legislation designed to give him the power to waive the state’s 18% increase to the gas tax that would go into effect July 1.

Franchot wrote in the letter that if he were granted authority by the General Assembly to suspend the tax he fully intends to do so for one fiscal year, from July 1 to June 30, 2023.

“While there appears to be continued disagreement between the Governor and my office – and the Attorney General’s interpretation of law – on whether or not I have existing authority to suspend the automatic increase to the gas tax set to go into effect on July 1, one thing is for certain: the executive and legislative branches have unquestionable authority to prevent an 18% increase to the gas tax – from 36 cents to 43 cents – from taking effect,” Franchot wrote in the letter. “This amounts to a new, highly regressive $200 million tax on Maryland families and small businesses.”

Gas prices around the country have been setting new record highs each day over the past two weeks, GasBuddy reported.

Franchot, according to the release, is also asking the General Assembly to enact a suspension of the state’s tax on gasoline through Sept. 30. Maryland did pass legislation in March to suspend the tax for a 30-day period.

The comptroller’s office, upon receiving a request from the Hogan administration, has exhausted regulatory and legal actions in order to prevent what is deemed the largest increase in the gas tax from 36.1 cents per gallon to 42.7 cents from going into effect in July.

According to the release, lawyers and comptroller’s office staff have scoured the state’s laws and found no discretion exists for the Franchot to take unilateral action. The assessment was agreed upon by the attorney general’s office.

This article was originally posted on Maryland comptroller calls for special session to stop gas tax increase

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