Senator Michael Hough Wants To End Maryland’s Annual Gas Tax Increase

Michael Hough

This year, the tax will increase about 8%.

Annapolis, Md. (NS) – Relief at the gas pump is one issue being discussed by the Maryland General Assembly.

State Senator Michael Hough said work has already been done to provide a 30-day gas tax holiday, but he wants to go another step further.

“The State of Maryland every year automatically increases the gas tax and that’s been in place since Governor Martin O’Malley. When they increased the gas tax in 2013, they added a provision that every year afterwords, it increases with the rate of inflation,” explained Hough.

He said people usually didn’t notice the increase because inflation and gas prices previously were low.

“So what I’d like to see us do rather than another gas tax holiday, which I’m fine if we decide to do that, but what we really need to do, and we must do in my opinion, is stop the automatic gas tax increase. It’s going to take place in July,” said Hough.

The tax on gas is expected to increase by about 8%.

The General Assembly is taking action to help reduce taxes for retirees in the state.

“Right now, the State of Maryland taxes retirement, 401k, Social Security. We treat retirement income very poorly and because of that a lot of seniors choose to move out of the State of Maryland, go to other states. Even our surrounding states like Delaware treat retirement income much better,” said Hough.

He said legislation is being formed to stop the taxation of retirement income.

“So the state put aside in the budget about, $350 million is what’s being discussed, so my guess is that it’s going to begin with, because we haven’t formalized the actual language yet of who’s going to get it, it’s probably going to begin with lower income seniors,” he explained.

He said it is important for seniors who raised their children in Maryland to afford to stay in the state when they retire.

Violent crime is also being addressed.

“The Senate has actually done, and we are sending over to the House, a number of pieces of legislation dealing with crime. For example, dealing with theft of a handgun, making it a felony, legislation that gives prosecutors more tools to go after gun crimes, closing what’s called the “Drug Dealer Loophole,” said Hough.

In Maryland, a felony committed with a firearm is a “violent crime” unless it was while dealing drugs. Hough said he does not know why the law was written that way.

“I am concerned that the House will not act on those, but let’s hope they do because we’ve got crime rates, they are really rising across the state. We see a lot of violence from Baltimore County, even car jackings and thefts and things like that in Montgomery county, and that’ll start to spill over to Frederick County and our region too,” Hough added.

The General Assembly ends on April 11th.