Maryland officials push for suspension of state’s gas tax in wake of unexpected revenue surplus

With gas prices surging to a national average of $4.25, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is seeking an emergency suspension of the state’s gas tax to “help with the pain at the pump,” he said in a statement Thursday.

Hogan said that “at this time of global uncertainty due to Russian aggression” in Ukraine, he is working with Maryland lawmakers to suspend the gas tax. He also said he supports ongoing efforts in the legislature to suspend automatic increases in the gas tax.

Shortly afterward, Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson released his own statement supporting a suspension of the state gas tax for 30 days.

“During the last month, Marylanders have seen gas prices increase exponentially, compounding existing rising costs,” Ferguson said. “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.”

Ferguson said he’ll be working with Hogan “in the coming days to relieve the pressure on Marylanders’ pocketbooks while ensuring our long-term fiscal health.”

Meanwhile, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot urged a three-month gas tax holiday on Thursday.

Franchot noted on Twitter that the gas tax in Maryland is currently about 37 cents.

Hogan, Ferguson and Franchot all said revenue projections for this year and next year have given lawmakers flexibility to offer more tax relief to Marylanders.

On Thursday, state officials announced revenue revisions that show estimates have jumped an additional $1.6 billion for the current and upcoming fiscal years. The increased revenue has been fueled in part by federal aid for pandemic relief.

Meanwhile in Virginia, Democratic leaders on Thursday urged Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin to declare a state of emergency to activate that state’s anti-price gouging law.

A Youngkin spokesperson responded by describing the move as a “ploy” by Democrats to deflect attention from “their record of reducing American energy independence.”

“The governor has continually advocated for providing significant tax relief to Virginians,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a separate statement. “He campaigned on rolling back the most recent increase in the gas tax for 12 months and has asked the general assembly to include it in the budget.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Anna Gawel

Anna Gawel joined WTOP in 2020 and works in both the radio and digital departments. Anna Gawel has spent much of her career as the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, which has been the flagship publication of D.C.’s diplomatic community for over 25 years.

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