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Hearings Held On Fast-Tracked Bill For Gas Tax Holiday In Maryland

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Maryland legislators held hearings Tuesday afternoon on a fast-tracked bill that would suspend collection of the state's gas tax for 30 days, offering a break to residents who have been paying record gas prices.

While the bill has not yet been passed, it has bipartisan support and is being fast-tracked through the legislative process in an effort to send it to the governor's desk for his signature this week.

A spokesperson for a democratic lawmaker said the bill could be on Gov. Larry Hogan's desk by Thursday.

The bill was introduced on Friday in response to calls for action from Gov. Larry Hogan, Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson, House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Comptroller Peter Franchot.

Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers are moving fast to push through the bill that would eliminate Maryland's gas tax for 30 days. The tax is 36 cents for every gallon.

"I think it's great that we were able to find bipartisan agreement with our friends in the legislature in the Senate and the House to put a pause on this gas tax," Hogan said.

AAA Says Maryland's average price for a gallon of regular gas was $4.24 Tuesday—a year ago,  it was $2.83.

Even though the bill would take effect immediately after the governor signs it, there may be some complications.

Some gas stations may still have gas in the ground that has already been taxed.

On Tuesday, lawmakers added an amendment to the bill to address this potential problem that would slow down relief at the pumps.

During a budget and taxation committee hearing, lawmakers announced that the comptroller designed a fix where a credit would be issued to gas stations for gas that's already been taxed.

The hope is that gas stations will not delay implementing the gas tax holiday, because they would use the alternative credit to offset the price of gas that's already been taxed.

Drivers are keeping one eye on the tab at the pumps and another eye on the bill lawmakers are moving to pass.

"Anything to get it under five dollars I'm all for it," Mike West said. "But just for a month? We still got another 11 months to go."

An increasing number of governors and state lawmakers across the United States are calling for the suspension of gas taxes, according to a CBS News report.

Proposals for a "gas tax holiday" to counter inflation had been moving slowly in Congress and state capitols before Russia invaded Ukraine, but they have gained momentum this week amid surging prices that averaged $4.25 a gallon on Wednesday, according to AAA.

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