Maryland’s legislative leaders agreed to a 30-day moratorium on the state’s gas tax amid soaring prices.
Maryland state House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson, both Democrats, said the suspension of the gas tax comes as state revenue projections increased in the 2021 fiscal year.
“Increased revenue projections for this year and next year give us the flexibility to provide immediate relief to families,” House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson said in a joint statement. “This swift action will help ease the financial burden on everyday Marylanders” while keeping pressure on Russia, they said.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is expected to sign the measure.
“We look forward to the General Assembly getting this bill to the governor’s desk,” Michael Ricci, a spokesperson for Hogan, a Republican, said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Hogan said he was working to issue an emergency suspension on the state’s gas tax while adding that “we also support ongoing efforts in the legislature to suspend automatic increases in the gas tax.”
Several other states may suspend their respective gas taxes in the coming days due to the surge in prices.
“In these extraordinary times, every little bit helps, and we remain focused on keeping our people and our economy moving,” Republican David Ralston, the speaker of Georgia’s House, said in a statement about removing the tax.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, on Tuesday called for a tax rebate for motorists. Automotive group AAA’s data shows that California has the highest gas prices in the United States.
AAA’s website also said that gas prices have surged in recent weeks to well over $4.33 per regular gallon nationwide. Top Democrats have claimed that the surge in the cost of a gallon has spiked due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and because of Tuesday’s ban on Russian oil imports, but critics say gas prices have been steadily increasing after President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.
Exactly one month ago, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the average cost for a gallon of gas was $3.48 per gallon, according to AAA. In March 2021, the cost was $2.82 per gallon, the data shows.
Critics have said that several of Biden’s executive orders, including one suspending the Keystone XL pipeline and one that blocked a number of new drilling initiatives, are partially to blame. Months before Russia’s invasion, critics have also pointed to soaring inflation for the spike in gas prices.
“Americans are paying a higher price at the pump because” of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki Tuesday aboard Air Force One,” adding that it is not “prompted by our sanctions” of Russia’s economy and banks.