State Roundup: Gas tax hike hits Marylanders wallets; glitches emerge as primary ballots mailed out

State Roundup: Gas tax hike hits Marylanders wallets; glitches emerge as primary ballots mailed out

The 19.4% gas tax hike makes Maryland's among the highest gas taxes in the nation behind Pennsylvania, California and Washington state. Photo by Cheef from Pexels

GAS TAX HIKE HITS MARYLANDERS’ WALLETS: Maryland’s state gas tax jumped by 19.4 percent on July 1 from 36 cents to nearly 43 cents per gallon. That’s among the highest gas taxes in the nation behind Pennsylvania, California and Washington. The automatic gas tax hike is tied to inflation and generates revenue for the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund used to finance the maintenance of roads, highways and mass transportation systems throughout the state. Bethany Raja/WYPR-FM.

OPINION: AND OUR LEGISLATORS DID NOT STOP IT: Still recovering from the government-mandated pandemic shutdowns, households are struggling with soaring inflation and record-high energy prices, and the economy may be on the brink of a recession. Despite this, the state gas tax rose a whopping 18%, from 36.1 cents per gallon to 42.7 cents per gallon.  The new tax propelled Maryland to the fourth highest gas tax in the country.  And our legislative leaders did nothing. Aaron Poynton/MarylandReporter.

GLITCHES EMERGE AS BALLOTS MAILED OUT: About a half-million Maryland voters have already received their ballots by mail or online — and millions more have received sample ballots or other information about what to do come primary day. But in an unusual year in which the voting is later than normal and district lines have switched, hiccups have already popped up. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.

OPINION: MARYLAND GIVES NO VOICE TO INDEPENDENT VOTERS: Mail-in balloting is already underway for the July 19 primary and early voting in person begins Thursday, July 7. But for independent voters – called “unaffiliated” in state law – and members of third parties – people who choose not to register as a Democrat or Republican — there is not much reason to vote. Maryland is one of 14 states that has what is known as a “closed primary.” In 36 other states – some of which have no party registration at all – any eligible voter, including independents, can vote in partisan primaries in some fashion. Len Lazarick/Maryland Reporter.

POLL: DEMOCRACY UNDER THREAT FROM LEFT & RIGHT: A majority of the 1,009 Maryland Democrats and Republicans who answered the survey conducted by Goucher College Poll agreed that democracy is under threat. Eighty-one percent of Republican and 77% of Democratic respondents said they, too, felt democracy was at risk. But their reasons why were split down party lines. Brenda Wintrode/The Baltimore Banner.

POLL FINDS VOTERS UNSURE OF WHO TO VOTE FOR: Ahead of polls opening for early voting in Maryland this week, a new survey shows that a majority of likely voters have not decided who they want to fill the seat being vacated by term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post.

  • About 35% of Democratic voters polled by a recent Goucher College Poll said they don’t know who they will vote for in the governor’s race. With the Goucher Poll showing a virtual dead heat between three candidates — Peter Franchot, Tom Perez and Moore — their votes could make a difference between who wins the Democratic nomination. The same is true for the Republican primary; 44% of voters in that party polled said they are undecided. Penelope Blackwell/The Baltimore Banner.

WHO ARE THE CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR? More than a dozen candidates are facing off in highly competitive Democratic and Republican primaries to become Maryland’s next governor. With early voting beginning this week, candidates are struggling to capture voters’ attention ahead of the July 19 primary. Fresh polling shows most voters have not settled on a candidate, and many of those who’ve made a choice said it could change before Election Day. So who are the candidates running? Ovetta Wiggins, Erin Cox, Karina Elwood, Steve Thompson and Rebecca Tan/The Washington Post.

CAMPAIGN FUNDS DON’T INDICATE VOTER SUPPORT: For a race with no candidate consistently polling higher than the low double digits, the fundraising numbers are eye-opening. A half-dozen Democrats and one Republican hoping to become Maryland’s next governor reported last month having about $1 million in their campaign bank accounts. But not all those war chests are a measure of strong support from Maryland voters. Some aren’t a measure of support from voters anywhere. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.

FRANCHOT TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, a leading candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, said on Twitter Friday that he tested positive for Covid-19. Franchot said he is vaccinated and boosted and his symptoms are mild, but the positive test means he will need to quarantine during a crucial stretch of the political campaign to replace outgoing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Giacomo Bologna/The Baltimore Sun.

FRANCHOT CAMPAIGN WORKERS UNIONIZE; MOORE AD FEATURES MFUME: The gubernatorial campaign of Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) announced Friday that 14 of its campaign workers — mostly members of the field staff — have voted to unionize. Wes Moore launched a new campaign ad Friday featuring Rep. Kweisi Mfume. Josh Kurtz and Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.

ARUNDEL EXEC RACE SHAPES UP TO BE COMPELLING: The election for Anne Arundel County executive is one of the most compelling in the state. Anne Arundel epitomized the blue wave that swept across suburban America during the Trump era, and some communities in the county are becoming demonstrably more Democratic. But there remain solid pockets of conservatism and swing voters. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

B’MORE’s MOST ANTICIPATED RACE IS FOR STATE’S ATTY: Controversies trailed Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby over the past four years. More recently, staff departures and retirements strained her office. Challengers Ivan Bates and Thiru Vignarajah are pledging to rescind her key policy: to cease prosecuting people for drug possession, prostitution and other nonviolent offenses. It’s shaping up to be Baltimore’s most anticipated race of the July 19 primary election. Tim Prudente/The Baltimore Banner.

CONTROVERSY IN HOUSE DISTRICT 41 RACES: High political drama is known to erupt periodically in northwest Baltimore. But thanks to a delegate’s voting record on abortion bills and an all-white Orthodox political slate, controversy is intense this election year, even for the 41st State House District. Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew.

AFTER ROE RULING, MARYLAND ABORTION CLINICS STAY BUSY: After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, ending five decades of federal abortion protections, the phones at Baltimore abortion clinics began to ring — and they have hardly stopped since, providers said. Maryland, a deep blue state, is positioned to be a haven for individuals who want to end their pregnancies. Alissa Zhu/The Baltimore Banner.

HOW ANTI-ABORTIONISTS CO-OPTED THURGOOD MARSHALL: Those of us who abhor the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate a right that the Constitution had supposedly bestowed upon us can learn a thing or two from the victors. Like them or not, these are stalwarts who for years have single-mindedly appropriated the playbook that Thurgood Marshall and his cohorts created to strike down segregation. ER Shipp/The Baltimore Banner.

BA CO COUNCIL RACES: Two longtime Baltimore County Council members are stepping down this year — including the council’s only woman — and voters in this summer’s primary election will choose from a field of candidates who hope to take their place. Alison Knezevich/The Baltimore Sun.

POLL: BLACK, WHITE CITY RESIDENTS VIEW POLICE, HOUSING DIFFERENTLY: Baltimore’s Black and white residents agree on many things, but they have divergent views on issues such as police treatment of minorities, the availability of affordable housing and the severity of the litter problem, according to a poll of city residents. John-John Williams/The Baltimore Banner.

KIDS LINE UP FOR COVID SHOTS, STUFFED ANIMALS: One by one, as little kids got their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine Saturday at Paint Branch High School, there were celebrations. After a shot was administered, nurses nearby would clap and the child would pick up a stuffed animal or other reward. Dan Schere/Bethesda Beat.

CLIMATE PROTEST SHUTS BELTWAY IN SILVER SPRING: A climate protest stopped holiday traffic for more than an hour Monday afternoon on the Beltway in Silver Spring. Thirteen people were arrested, an organizer with the group Declare Emergency told Bethesda Beat. A Maryland State Police spokeswoman did not have additional details as of Monday afternoon. Dan Schere and Ann Tallent/Bethesda Beat.

THE KEY PARADOX: Who was Francis Scott Key, the man who is memorialized for a song we sing only part of, one that celebrates a victory in a war that was more of a draw? He was a paradox: an enslaver who abhorred the slave trade, and a man who helped Black Marylanders sue for their freedom but couldn’t countenance a world with free Black citizens. Rona Kobell/The Baltimore Banner.

DONALD HUGHES, FORMER EDUCATOR, STATE DELEGATE, DIES AT 88: Donald Kenneth Hughes Sr., a former Baltimore County Schools principal who served in the Maryland House of Delegates and was Maryland’s first Teacher of the Year, died of dementia June 26 at Arden Court in Riderwood. The former resident of High Country Road in Hampton was 88. Jacques Kelly/The Baltimore Sun.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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