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Maryland polls differ on money for roads

January 16, 2004|by LAURA ERNDE

Addressing a gathering of Maryland Chamber of Commerce members Thursday, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel, talked about ways to raise money for transportation projects.

The Chamber supports a $30 increase in the vehicle registration fee, coupled with a 5-cent increase in the gasoline tax, state Chamber Chairman Bill Roberts said.

Miller said he supports a gas tax increase of 5 cents or more.

Busch said raising the gas tax would make Maryland uncompetitive with surrounding states. Increasing the cost of vehicle registrations would burden senior citizens, he said.

A sales tax increase from 5 percent to 6 percent would cost the average taxpayer less money and would keep the state on an equal footing with its neighbors, Busch said.

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Gov. Robert Ehrlich agreed that something needs to be done to prop up the transportation fund, but gave no specifics. He reiterated his stance against any increase in sales or income taxes.

"The realities are we don't all agree on how to approach things," said House Minority Leader Del. George Edwards, R-Garrett/Allegany.

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