Members and supporters of Americans for Prosperity and Campaign for Liberty came out Saturday to , and gas stations in Lutherville-Timonium for a grassroots effort to fight a proposed increase in the state gas tax.
“We’re trying to get community support because this is a tax that affects everyone at all levels,” said Tom Katzenberger of Americans for Prosperity as he proudly waved a sign reading “No New Gas Taxes.”
Americans for Prosperity is a group that advocates for smaller government, lower taxes and free markets.
Led by Del. Ann Kaiser, a Montgomery County Democrat, the bill would increase the state motor fuel tax by 20 cents a gallon. If passed, an initial increase of 10 cents per gallon would go into effect on July 1. The remaining 10 cents would be phased in with a 2 cents per gallon increase every six months over the next two years.
So far, the demonstrators have been pleased with the public response. In one hour, Bob Date, also of Americans for Prosperity, claimed to have gotten 100 people to sign a petition protesting the bill.
“People are extremely receptive,” Date said. “They know that cutting spending is where we need to go.”
However, the initiative is not without its dissenters.
Despite receiving many honks of approval from passing vehicles on York Road, those opposing the campaign made their voices heard as well, including one motorist who screamed “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” through his car window.
This did not deter Patrick Hussey of Campaign for Liberty, a group that, like Americans for Prosperity, advocates for smaller government, less government debt and a free market economy and associates itself with the Tea Party movement.
“We’re here to protest the waste and abuse of taxpayer money,” he said. Pointing to his 6-year-old son James, he continued, “I’m here for this guy and his future.”
The two groups hope to continue with their campaign with an upcoming community meeting at the Catonsville Library with Kaiser in the next ten days.
“The whole goal is to raise awareness to what the general assembly is doing about gas taxes,” said Steve Bailey, co-chairman of the Baltimore County chapter of Americans for Prosperity. “Maryland’s looking for a way to raise taxes and the people don’t want that. They need the government to be responsible for managing the budget.”