Md. Station Owner Gathers Petitions Against Gas Tax Hike

Madsen, others to deliver signatures to state legislators

Martin O'Malley

BALTIMORE -- Maryland gas station owner Keith Madsen is protesting the governor's proposed gasoline tax increase with a petition drive, reported WBAL-TV in Baltimore.

Madsen owns Hess gas stations in Towson and Elkridge, Md. He started collecting signatures from customers who are against the proposed tax increase three weeks ago.

Madsen posted a sign outside of both of his stations advertising the drive. He said he currently has about 1,200 signatures at his Elkridge location and about 1,000 more at his station in Towson, said the report.

"A lot of people don't even buy anything. They see the sign and they stop and they say, 'Where's the petition? We want to sign this,'" he told the news outlet.

Governor Martin O'Malley and gasoline tax supporters said the bill would lead to 7,500 new jobs in the state for road and public transit improvements.

But Madsen said the 6% gasoline tax increase, which would be implemented over three years, would hurt his business and his customers.

"They portray this as a jobs bill, that this is going to increase jobs in the state, when really, the people that are going to need jobs are the people who are driving their cars because they have to pay all these extra fees in taxes," Madsen said.

Madsen is part of the Washington Maryland Dealers Association. He said other station owners have also collected signatures, totaling about 20,000 so far. They plan to deliver them to legislators at a hearing in Annapolis, even though a date has not yet been announced.

Gasoline tax supporters said the bill aims to generate more than $600 million in additional revenue for the state.

The governor's plan balances record cuts--$7.5 billion over the last six years--with the highest-ever $32 billion investment in the state's public education, he said in his "State of the State" address. "It also balances investments in our critical infrastructure--our roads, bridges, tunnels and transit--with a phased-in proposal to lift the sales tax exemption on gasoline over the years."

O'Malley acknowledged that while the gasoline tax increase and other proposals may not be popular, they are the right thing to do for Maryland's future, he said in a statement.