Today, you may have heard something about a tax on driving in Maryland.
While the idea is another in a long line of bad policy prescriptions emanating from the Maryland Democratic machine, one we reported on over a year ago, a certain candidate running in the Maryland Republican gubernatorial primary is an enabler of the proposal.
Yesterday, WBAL Television reported about the possibility of a vehicle miles travelled tax for Maryland motorists.
Supporters of the proposal call it a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax, or VMT. As proposed in the state’s transportation master plan, it would be in addition to and would not replace the state gas tax…
Maryland’s master transportation plan contains an option for a VMT tax. It was inspired by the desire to cut emissions and by diminishing gas tax revenues.
That “desire to cut emissions” is expressed in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2009, one of Governor O’Malley’s signature pieces of environmental legislation. The law commits the state to reducing GHG emissions to 25 percent of 2006 levels by 2020. The law tasked the Maryland Department of the Environment with working with other state agencies to devise an implementation plan.
In its 2012 Climate Action Plan Draft Implementation Plan, the Maryland Department of Transportation put fort the option of establishing:
a Maryland motor fuel taxes or VMT fees – There are two primary options for consideration: (1) an increase in the per gallon motor fuel tax consistent with alternatives under consideration by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding, and (2) establish a GHG emission-based road user fee (or VMT fee) statewide by 2020 in addition to existing motor fuel taxes. Both options would create additional revenue that could be used to fund transportation improvements and systems operations to help meet Maryland GHG reduction goals [emphasis mine].
In addition to a VMT, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act put on the table a menu of taxes, fees, and mandates—a environmental statist’s policy version of a wet dream.
What does this have to do with the Maryland Republican gubernatorial primary?
Well… it turns out one member of the “conservative team Maryland needs” or “the conservative’s choice” ticket or something—Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio voted for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act. She joined her other house colleagues in the gubernatorial race, Democrats Heather Mizeur and Jolene Ivey, in assisting the O’Malley administration in saddling taxpayers and our economy with ruinous environmental policies.
Here’s a finding from the Department of Legislative Services analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act:
In Maryland, the manufacturing sector will likely experience a greater amount of employment and output losses relative to the rest of the economy as a result of GHG reduction policies. However, policies that attempt to mitigate these losses and exempt the manufacturing sector will only increase the total cost of GHG mitigation and shift the burden to other economic sectors. Ultimately, the cost of GHG mitigation policies, even those imposed on businesses, will be borne by individuals [emphasis mine].
It should also be noted that Haddaway-Riccio was a sponsor of legislation in 2010, which gave generous taxpayer subsidies to green energy rent seekers—$14.9 million to be exact, going by the math in the fiscal policy note.
The conservative choice indeed!
Now this brings us to our friend Michael Swartz, who, in his endorsement of David Craig, wrote that picking Haddaway-Riccio “sealed it” and made “the difference” in his endorsement.
This is curious given Swartz is such a critic (and rightfully so) of the very policies Haddwway-Riccio not only voted for, but sponsored.