Maryland drivers are getting ready to head to the emergency room for a transfusion, as Gov. Martin O'Malley is sucking their life's blood out of them, or should I say the few dollars they have left in their wallets.
With all the legislation that was passed in the recently ended legislative session, we should all be thankful that it only lasts for 90 days. Otherwise we might be finding ourselves at the local soup kitchen for what this governor is costing us.
On July 1, Martin O'Malley's sticky fingers will plunge deep in our pockets to pull out an additional $2 dollars in toll fees for the Bay Bridge, the Harry W. Nice Bridge, the JFK Highway (I-95) and Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge. Oh, that hand's not finished yet – grab an additional dollar for the Harbor and Ft. McHenry tunnels and the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Next year when the Express Toll Lanes open on Interstate 95, we'll have even more toll hikes with the variable toll rates lanes. All for the sake of cutting time off on our work commute. This gives whole new meaning to the phrase "time is money" with Gov. Martin O'Malley in charge of your wallet.
Until this year Gov. O'Malley should have been forced to buy malpractice insurance to cover what his administration had not been doing – going after those who breeze through the E-Z pass tolls without paying. In the last five years these toll-runners have chalked up nearly $6.7 million in unpaid tolls – and they want to dip into the pockets again of the law-bidding motorists. Botched operation – get me a lawyer!
Now you take the surrounding states, Delaware has $10 in tolls for the entire state. West Virginia has only one toll road (take me home country roads). Our good friends in Virginia only pay $27.10 and that's including the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel at $12. Only the state of Pennsylvania equals our current total of $33 … and they have 15 toll roads compared to our eight soon to be nine.
Really? I think I'm going to faint – grab the smelling salts.
The public is still choking on the Gas Tax we're going to start paying on July 1, the same day that the tolls increase. If the feds don't add to our misery, you'll be paying at least 62.5 cents per gallon in taxes by 2016. My suggestion to you: learn the Heimlich maneuver before then!
In just the past two years alone we've see car registration double (don't forget to add the additional $3.50 the gas tax bill has included in raising the registration fee once again), titling a vehicle doubled, and car dealers processing fees doubled.
For those of you who found a car or truck too expensive to use – even mo-ped and motor scooters owners found the "Tax Man" waiting like the Grim Reaper. The addition of a $20 titling fee and an excise tax of 6 percent, requirement of insurance and the additional cost to purchase a helmet and protective eye wear. We always have the option of riding a bike, roller blades or a skateboard – oh wait, give'em time, they'll tax that too!
Wait a doggone minute – the intake from toll fees collected minus expenses for the fiscal years 2011 and 2012 is a whopping $621,460,763. Oh my gosh -- the heart is beating double time, I'm having a hard time breathing! Didn't the MDTA say in 2011 that costs for repairs involving all these toll roads AND the expense of addressing traffic congestion along I-95 (the express toll lanes) and the Inter-county Connector in the DC area totaled $909,000,000. Oh hon, one more year without another toll increase and the funds for all that work will have given us $130,000,000 to spare – the cost of gold-plated pacemakers for everyone in the state.
The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Maryland in 2012 reports that the standard for a three-person family has increased by an average of 54 percent in the last decade. How much will these new taxes and fees increase that average?
Enough is enough; we haven't even gotten to the wind and rain taxes O'Malley inflicted on us.
The only person dancing in the rain after the 2013 Legislative Session is Martin O'Malley. After July 1, the rest of us will be on life support.
Sen. Nancy Jacobs
Southern and Eastern Harford District 34Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun