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Elkridge Hess Fights Gas Tax

Keith Madsen, who runs the Elkridge gas station, has gathered more than 750 signatures on a petition against the proposed legislation.

The tax on gasoline that Gov. Martin O’Malley officially proposed on Tuesday faces strong opposition in Elkridge.

At the on Washington Boulevard, dealer Keith Madsen has already collected approximately 750 signatures from people against the tax, which would add a 6 percent increase on the price of motor fuel over a three-year period.

"Prices are already up," said Madsen, who said government was trying to hit taxpayers in areas they couldn't do without. The increase would add approximately 21 cents a gallon in three years, he noted. "It's just so unfair."

The governor said the tax outlined in the Maryland Transportation Financing and Infrastructure Investment Act of 2012 was essential to keeping the state and its transit systems running.

"This legislation will allow us to support 7,500 new jobs building needed roads, bridges and public transit throughout our state,” said O’Malley in a press release on Feb. 14.

The taxes would generate an additional $613 million in revenue, according to the release.

Madsen said he doesn't believe the tax money will go to the infrastructure that most Marylanders use, which is roads. He said the bulk of funding goes to BWI Airport and the Port of Baltimore (which he believed could support themselves) and the light rail (which he said was not breaking even).

“The government is trying to ride out the recession on the backs of taxpayers,” said Madsen.

Madsen joins business owners around Maryland who say they are concerned the proposed tax could have a devastating impact on the economy.

The Howard County Chamber of Commerce, which represents business owners, said it is watching the issue.

“While the Howard County Chamber of Commerce recognizes the need for transportation funding and improvements, it is important that legislators consider the business climate for Maryland companies and their employees,” said Sandy Alexander, spokeswoman for the Howard County Chamber of Commerce, in an email to Patch.

"Our legislative staff and committee will review the legislation that was introduced today and evaluate the full range of ways it may impact the business community in Howard County and the state," said Alexander on Feb. 14.

Madsen, who has run the Elkridge gas station since 1972, put up signs at each pump so customers could see how the price of gas has changed over the past 40 years he's been in business.

There's also a sign taped on the door to the station's store asking people to "please sign our petition."

Madsen is a member of the Washington, Maryland, Delaware Service Station and Automotive Repair Association (WMDA), which has put together a petition that stations around the state are using.

On Feb. 12, Madsen put a sign out near Route 1 inviting people to come in and sign the gas tax petition, and the response, he said, has been positive.

"A lot of people say, 'How can you stop it?'" said Madsen of the gas tax.

Holding more than 30 pages filled with signatures, he said: "This is how you stop it."

Madsen and other members of the WMDA plan to show up for a hearing on the gas tax in Annapolis with their petitions. The hearing date has yet to be announced.

In the meantime, he encourages people to visit the Elkridge  to sign the petition. "I don't care if they buy anything," said Madsen. "We just need them to stop in and sign. We need everyone."

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the total over three years if the price of gas remains the same will be a 21-cent increase in gas taxes.

Tammy B. February 15, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Great Job Keith! Me and my family will def. be by to sign the petition. As a small business owner who's machinery runs on gas, I find it appalling that the Governor thinks this is a great idea... way to go Governor, now we will have to decide between food, medicine and now gas, why don't you just have us sign over our entire paychecks! The people running our government have absolutely NO CLUE how the poor and middle class are struggling right now, we are all trying to just keep our heads above water and not drown at this point so let's give props to the governor for pouring more water over our heads! Can't wait for election day... I will be voting anyone who has a seat out of here, time for some new blood!
BosoxBrent February 15, 2012 at 02:33 PM
I know where I'm filling up on gas when I need my next fillup, even though this station is out of the way for me. Thanks for doing your part Keith!
David Maier February 15, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Thank you Keith. I will be by to sign the petition as well. The State has been balancing their budget by transfering money from the Transportation Trust Fund into the General Fund for many many years. If that money was never taken, would this be necessary??? Also, the Politicans claim that there has been no increase in the tax since 1992. How much has our state grown over that time frame? Don't you think we are selling more gas since then? Has anyone calculated the amount of money taken from the trust fund since 1992 and how much revenue is taken from gas sales over the last 20 years?? It is time to call your legislators and complain!
LF February 15, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Thanks, Keith! I'll be stopping by later. I'll bet there's a traffic jam just to sign the petition. There are thousands of independent contractors who drive for a living, who take an immediate cut to their take-home pay every time the gas price goes up. Many of these independent individuals are just barely hanging on in this economy. We're not talking big bucks here, just survival.
Diane February 15, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Keith thanks for taking a stand on this issue. Hopefully if we band together we can stop them from taking more from our families. We will be by to sign the petition. DD
CAW21227 February 15, 2012 at 05:41 PM
My family will be by to sign that petition today. Thank you keith.
JLeonard March 01, 2012 at 07:10 AM
Keith, Smile.. and thanks for our Hess Station. You've been there for 30 years. Thank You.

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