ANNAPOLIS, Md. — After Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced working with lawmakers on emergency legislation to end the gas tax in Maryland amid global uncertainty, top leaders in the General Assembly agreed to offer a gas tax holiday for one month.
The tax break could start within the next coming days as the average price of gas in Maryland reaches $4.30 as of Thursday, according to AAA.
“Increased revenue projections for this year and next year give us the flexibility to provide immediate relief to families,” Senate President William Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) said in a statement. “This swift action will help ease the financial burden on everyday Marylanders while keeping the pressure on Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs who have enabled him.”
The gas tax holiday would save drivers just over 36 cents per gallon.
Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), who is running for governor, proposed suspending gas taxes as well, but the proposal would be for three months, which accounts for $250 million in tax revenue.
The state already has a budget surplus of $7.5 billion due to in part COVID-19 relief funds and state income tax revenue, according to the Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates.
“I think 30 days is not enough time because we have to resolve the international situation which I think will take probably three months,” Franchot told WUSA9. “The surplus will be used to substitute for the taxation so all of the transportation needs of the state will continue to be met.”
The latest effort from Maryland is in line with governors and lawmakers all over the country who are calling on states to eliminate gas taxes. The proposals for a “gas tax holiday” to counter inflation had been moving slowly in Congress and state capitols before Russia invaded Ukraine, but many are now gaining momentum.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance substantial tax relief for our families, small businesses, and retirees,” Hogan said in a tweeted Thursday statement. “People across the country are being squeezed by surging inflation on everything from gas to groceries—Marylanders, especially our retirees, deserve and need this relief.”
Hogan specified that he also supports continued efforts in the legislature to suspend automatic increases in the gas tax. He added that he’s also called on the Biden administration to increase domestic energy production to help lower costs.
“Now more than ever, we must come together to take bold, bipartisan action,” the governor said.
As of Tuesday, the national average for a gallon of gas climbed to $4.17. The price of benchmark U.S. crude jumped 8% to more than $129 per barrel.
Although only a fraction of U.S. gas comes from Russian oil, prices remain high because the price of oil is set at a global level. According to 2021 numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration we imported about 3.3% from Russia, however, any supply disruption or potential disruption will affect gas prices all over the world.
“But it’s important to note that we actually haven’t seen a supply disruption,” Sasha Mackler from the Bipartisan Policy Center explained to our Verify team. “Right now, what we’re seeing happen in the oil markets is nervousness around a potential supply disruption.”