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Maryland Lawmakers Pass Emergency Suspension Of Fuel Tax

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- With Marylanders facing record prices at the pump, state lawmakers on Thursday passed a measure to suspend Maryland's fuel tax.

The bill, which will halt the state's collection of its $0.36 fuel tax for 30 days, now heads to the desk of Gov. Larry Hogan, who is expected to sign it on Friday.

Once the bill receives Gov. Hogan's signature, Comptroller Peter Franchot said his office will issue the suspension and gas prices will drop accordingly.

"When he signs that bill, the next gallon of gas is going to be tax free," Franchot said.

The bill passed both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously on Thursday, with a 131-0 vote in the House of Delegates and a 47-0 vote in the Senate.

The emergency legislation comes as Marylanders have been paying steep prices resulting from economic sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Marylanders were paying an average of $4.21 per gallon Thursday, down slightly from Wednesday's price of $4.23 per gallon, according to figures provided by AAA.

The bill, which had broad bipartisan support and has been in the works since last week, was fast-tracked in response to calls for action from Hogan, Franchot, Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones, among other officials.

Last week, Ferguson and Jones issued a statement saying they were seeking a 30-day gas tax holiday, citing an anticipated increase in state revenues.

"Increased revenue projections for this year and next year give us the flexibility to provide immediate relief to families," the pair said. "This swift action will help ease the financial burden on everyday Marylanders while keeping pressure on Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs who have enabled him."

The governor has also expressed his support for a fuel tax suspension.

"We are working with our legislative partners on an emergency suspension of the gas tax to help with the pain at the pump," Hogan said. "We also support ongoing efforts in the legislature to suspend automatic increases in the gas tax."

Franchot, who supported the measure, expressed doubts about whether a month-long suspension was enough. He has called for a three-month suspension.

"The unfortunate reality is the economic whiplash at the gas pump resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine will be felt by Marylanders for more than 30 days," he said.

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.

Pushes for a "gas tax holiday" to combat inflation were moving slowly in Congress and state capitols before Russia invaded Ukraine, but they have gained momentum recently amid surging prices.

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