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Comptroller, Gubernatorial Candidate Franchot push for second gas tax holiday, face push back

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Posted at 5:15 PM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 18:05:13-04

BALTIMORE — We've been feeling the painful prices at the pump since spring and coupled with the prices of everyday needs going up.

So, it’s safe to say we’re all in desperate need for some relief.

On Thursday, Comptroller Peter Franchot said it’s not just affordable for the state to step in to cut the state gas tax again. He calls it the right thing to do.

July 1 is when the state's gas tax is expected to hike all the way to 43 cents per gallon which is why state comptroller Peter Franchot is hoping to get a gas tax holiday in place before that date.

“50 bucks would normally take me to a full tank. Today it’s half a tank. It’s crazy but you gotta do what you gotta do,” driver Alvina Bettis said.

MORE: Biden calls on Congress and states to initiate a three-month gas tax holiday

Local lawmakers call on Congress to suspend gas tax

Most of us are right there with her, watching '50 on pump 4,' take us nearly half the distance it did months ago.

“I take care of my mom so everyday I’m back and forth on 795, so in 3 days, I burned $60 worth of gas, so yes, it would definitely help me,” Bettis said.

MORE: Leading lawmakers pump brakes on calls for special legislative session over impending gas tax hike

Bettis echoes what we’ve heard from across the state for several weeks, and now wants a second state gas tax holiday.

MORE: Breakdown of Maryland gas tax holiday shows consumers don't get the full benefit

It’s one Comptroller Peter Franchot says is crucial to get in place for families with lower household incomes.

“With the gas tax prices headed up as they are at almost 20 percent of their income monthly income will be spent on fuel, on gasoline to get to their businesses to get to their places of employment,” Comptroller Franchot said.

Gas prices surge as gas tax holiday ends

Franchot said the price tag the state would pay to save at the pump is affordable, reporting families and small business could save up to $550 million from a federal and state gas tax holiday combined for the next three months.

“I’m the comptroller. We have plenty of money. We just are lacking the political consensus to do the right thing,” Franchot said.

Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones said in joint statement Wednesday, "states cannot unilaterally bear the burden of increased gas prices driven in part by Putin's aggression in Ukraine and in part by the corporate greed of oil companies bringing in record profits."

The comptroller and candidate for governor Franchot said he, himself, could not legally impose a gas tax holiday on his own.

Meanwhile, Bettis is staying tuned on what happens across the state and country within the next week to see if her trips to take of mom become a little less expensive.

“They can help other countries. They need to help us. They’re sending billions of dollars overseas and look what’s going on here with us,” Bettis said.

With a state and federal gas tax holiday in place, it could save Marylanders more than 60 cents per gallon over the next few months.

In response to President Biden’s call for states and congress to enact federal and state-wide tax holidays, Governor Hogan stated Wednesday, “we are again calling on the Comptroller and the General Assembly to take action, and I am prepared to swiftly sign a gas tax suspension."

Comptroller Franchot also proposed issuing emergency survival checks for $2,000 dollars for low-wage earners, essential employees and seniors on fixed income to assist with other essentials like rent prescriptions and grocery costs.