The Free State Commentary by Mark Uncapher

Mark Uncapher, President, Montgomery County Republican Club

Mark Uncapher

President

Mark Uncapher, is serving as President of the Montgomery County Republican Club. Mark is a long-time party activist who previously served as the Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee.

Delegate Wants Sales Tax Hike to Fund Mass Transit Only

Proposes Referendum on Her “Little Itty Bit” Half-Cent Tax Hike

Maryland’s Transportation Revenue and Infrastructure Needs Commission has been considering higher taxes and fees for state transportation. [i] The proposals include new fees for electric vehicles and higher tolls. The 31-member body was created by the legislature earlier this year. [ii]

Regarding the possible toll hikes, Maryland Matters quoted a skeptical Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Steve Hershey:

“I’d like to hear more of a justification if somebody said we need to increase the tolls for exactly what projects out there are not being completed,” he said.[iii]

On the other side of the transportation spectrum, Baltimore’s “Car Free” Delegate, Robbyn Lewis has proposed a half-cent increase in the sales tax, with the proceeds only being used for public transit.[iv]

Lewis says she has had discussions with others about “whether we could raise revenue for transit through a statewide ballot initiative. “Ask the people of Maryland whether they would be open to paying a little itty bit of a fee or tax, a half a cent on every purchase like a sales tax bump if those funds were funneled directly into our transit needs.”

Gov. Wes Moore’s administration’s six-year transportation plan has been adding pressure toward tax and fee increases. Claiming a projected $3.3 billion transportation deficit over the next six years, it significantly cuts statewide transportation services and highway construction projects.[v]

Responding to the proposed budget cuts, Senate Minority Leader Hershey said they were no more than a manufactured doomsday scenario.

“This is a script of a bad movie that we’ve seen over and over again,” said Hershey, who is a member of the Transportation Revenue and Infrastructure Needs Commission. “They come out and they claim that they don’t have enough money to do something. Then they want to put it back on the legislature and say you’re going to have to be the ones to solve the problems.”[vi]

Would you support Del. Lewis’ Half-Cent Sales Tax Increase to Fund Public Transit only if subject to a referendum? 


[i]  https://www.marylandmatters.org/2023/08/08/roundup-members-named-to-new-transportation-commission-senate-forum-set-plus-personnel-news/

 

[ii] https://www.mdot.maryland.gov/tso/Pages/Index.aspx?PageId=205

[iii] https://www.marylandmatters.org/2023/09/14/increased-tolls-may-be-on-the-horizon-as-panel-examines-transportation-funding-needs/

[iv] https://www.marylandmatters.org/2023/12/13/city-lawmakers-hope-to-avert-transportation-cuts-one-proposes-itty-bit-of-a-fee-or-tax/

[v] https://www.marylandmatters.org/2023/12/05/county-state-leaders-lash-out-at-3-3-billion-in-transportation-cuts/

[vi] https://www.marylandmatters.org/2023/12/05/county-state-leaders-lash-out-at-3-3-billion-in-transportation-cuts/