Penny Tax for Your Transportation? Poll Finds Opposition

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A majority of Maryland voters will not support a 1-cent increase in the sales tax dedicated to transportation projects around the state, according to a poll released Tuesday. The state’s Transportation Trust Fund faces a $3.1 billion deficit over six years due to declining gas tax collections and other factors. Closing the gap would require either draconian cuts to projects or an infusion of money at a time when the state is also staring down billions in future operating budget deficits. In a related question, 64 percent of those surveyed said funding roads and bridges should take priority among transportation projects, with only 26 percent saying mass transit projects should take priority.

When to act: Some House leaders, including Appropriations Committee Chair Ben Barnes, would like to consider increases this year. Senate President Bill Ferguson and Budget and Taxation Chair Guy Guzzone say they will wait to act next year. The future of Maryland’s competitiveness hangs in the balance, and alternative solutions to raising taxes should be considered.

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