UPDATE 4:16 p.m. Friday, March 29, 2013: Today, the gas tax bill (HB 1515) cleared the Maryland General Assembly and will now go before the Governor.  To find out who voted and how they voted, click here.

Original Post: Maryland horse people may be “farm bodies,” but –-as an industry–-we are road warriors. We are hauling horses, hauling feed, hauling hay. Vets and farriers and other service providers live their lives on the road.  And we are not hauling all of this tonnage with hybrids. So any change in the Maryland gas tax will hit our industry, and hit it hard.

HB 1515 will increase the fuel taxes we pay. The bill does not specifically state what the new tax on fuel would be; rather, the bill lays out a rather complex mathematical formula (tied into evaluations of the consumer price index and average retail prices of fuel) for increasing the gas tax.   Some websites calculate that the gas tax in Maryland, which today is 23.5¢ a gallon, could rise to as much as 38.2¢ per gallon by the end of 2015, and would effectively raise the gas tax by as much as 63% and the diesel tax by as much as 82% by 2015, but other sources say that the formula would increase the gas tax by approximately 6%. The Equiery has not verified whether or not these calculations fit in with the mathematical formula as outlined in the bill, as our accountant is rather busy this time of the year. However, we will provide you with links (see below) to other sources.

The bill also contains language that would prohibit governors from raiding the Transportation Trust Fund in the future (as has happened in the past). The bill also details funding for bike lanes, watershed implementation plans,  Maryland Emergency Medical System (and its communication systems), Shock Trauma, base salaries for pilots and technicians and field instructors, the Sen. William Amoss Fire, Rescue & Ambulance Fund, and other projects.

HB 1515 was introduced on March 4, and in the fast and furious times that define the last five week of the Maryland General Assembly, it looks like it has been amended about 12 times before being passed by the House Ways and Means Committee on March 20, and then by the House of Delegates on March 22. The bill crossed over to the Senate, where it was heard in the Budget & Taxation Committee on Monday, March 25. Today, March 29, it received a favorable report by Budget & Taxation and will now go before the full body.

For more information:

The Baltimore Sun

The Daily Record

The Washington Post

Washington Business Journal

The Washington Times

UPDATE: Sunday Hunting – There is still time!

The Queen Anne bill (SB 24) is scheduled for a hearing in the House Environmental Matters Committee on Wed. April 3 at 1 p.m.

The Carroll County bill (HB 543) was supposed to have been heard on Tuesday in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee…and it has not yet come out of committee, according to the official website.

UPDATE Spay/Neuter Bill

The Senate version of the spay/neuter bill, SB 820, which crossed over to the House at the top of the week, has received a favorable report from the House Environmental Matters Committee and will now go before the entire body for a vote. This “favorable” designation by the House Environmental Matters Committee is dated April 1.