Next move on gas tax may be up to local leaders
The chairwoman of the House of Delegates committee in charge of revenue bills says local leaders will have to line up behind a higher gas tax if such an increase is going to happen in this year's session.
In one of those typical one-minute interviews that are a staple of Annapolis reporting, Del. Sheila Hixson, chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee said House leaders including Speaker Michael E. Busch have let local officials know that if they want a restoration of some of the local highway maintenance funds slashed in recent budgets, they'll have to get behind a move for increased transportation revenue.
Hixson, a Montgomery County Democrat, indicated that General Assembly leaders are reluctant to be seen as the only ones in favor of such a measure. The state's 23.5-cent-a-gallon gas tax hasn't been raised since 1992, but lawmakers are wary of imposing any increase.
This pressure on the local leaders is standard politics in Annapolis, where lawmakers ty pically want a public clamor for services before they provide the revenue to pay for them. If you see Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and a group of big-county executives lining up behind an increase over the next few weeks, you'll know a gas tax increase may be on a track to become part of a bigger budget deal.