Hogan asks Franchot to suspend the mandatory gas tax increase; Franchot asks Hogan to declare a state of emergency
Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) has asked State Comptroller Peter VR Franchot (D) to ease the annual gasoline tax increases imposed by legislation that will take effect this summer. And Franchot, the Democratic candidate for governor, quickly reacted by calling on the governor to declare a state of emergency to temporarily suspend the tax.
Since 2013, the state’s gas tax rate increases each year if the Comptroller’s Office determines that the Consumer Price Index – which measures the cost of changes in a widely used basket of goods and services to measure inflation – has increased over the past year. If there is no increase in the consumer price index, the gas tax rates remain the same.
The state gasoline tax is set to increase July 1 from 36.1 cents per gallon to 43 cents per gallon, depending on the formula.
In a letter sent Monday, Hogan asked Franchot “to use all legal and regulatory powers at your disposal to stop or minimize the impact of accelerating gasoline taxes” and also to consider extending the payment of taxes and remove penalties for unpaid taxes.
“Given volatile oil markets, record inflation, and skyrocketing cost of living, continued spikes in gas prices are inflicting more pain at the pump than Marylanders can bear. “wrote Hogan, who will step down in January due to term limits.
In a response letter, Franchot said he recognized that raising the tax as costs rose was “morally and economically irresponsible.” Franchot said his office is exploring legal avenues he can take to prevent the mandatory gas tax increase from taking effect.
The comptroller also called on Hogan to take action as well by declaring a “state of energy emergency” to suspend the state gasoline tax until September.
“As my office continues to seek regulatory and statutory flexibility on this matter, I urge you to immediately declare a state of energy emergency as set forth in state law,” Franchot wrote. “This would not only provide relief from the current fuel tax rate, but would also temporarily prevent a gasoline tax increase from taking effect.
Franchot had opposed the law creating automatic gas tax rate increases when the plan was introduced and told CBS Baltimore that “it would just be a brutal assault on people who can’t afford to pay for it” in 2012.
The governor’s office was encouraged by Franchot’s response.
“It is encouraging that the Comptroller is considering taking action as he has done in similar situations in the past, and we hope he will announce his plan to the people of Maryland as soon as possible,” said Michael Ricci, Door -say Hogan, in a statement.
The swap comes after gasoline prices in Maryland and the country rose sharply earlier this year as oil production was slow to catch up with a rapid increase in demand for gasoline following of a pandemic-induced recession. Then, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine unfolded, oil prices rose again globally.
The Governor and General Assembly responded by enacting a gasoline tax suspension in March that halted state fuel tax collection for 30 days, effectively lowering the average price of a gallon of regular fuel in Maryland from 39 cents a few days after the tax. the holidays have taken effect.
But as the gasoline tax exemption drew to a close, Republican lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to extend the state’s gasoline tax exemption for another 45 days through an amendment to the bill. Franchot also asked for a three-month extension at the time.
Republican lawmakers also introduced an emergency bill this legislative session that would have temporarily suspended the state’s annual gasoline tax increase on fuel based on inflation for two years, but those bills did not leave the committee.