July 1, 2023
Ready Report: Independence Day, Fighting Gas Tax, Marijuana Legalization & more…
As we celebrate America’s 247th birthday on July 4th, it is crucial to reflect on the incredible blessing that comes with being Americans. Independence Day ought to be, for us all, a celebration of the genius of our founding, where men signed their own death warrant when they signed the Declaration of Independence in that humid and steamy hall in Philadelphia in 1776.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend. I submitted a letter to the Carroll County Times this week on Independence Day. You can read the full letter by clicking here.
Senate & House Republicans Call for Special Session to End Automatic Gas Tax Increases
On July 1st, Maryland’s gas tax will automatically increase by over 10%, making it 47 cents per gallon. We will be the fourth highest gas tax in the country. However, years ago, the General Assembly passed legislation to make these increases automatic. Republicans in Annapolis have tried several times to end the automatic tax increases, which would force legislators to meet and vote on raising taxes. Democrats have repeatedly said ‘no.’ While the idea of a gas tax as a user fee makes sense, unfortunately nearly 60% of our gas tax dollars get siphoned into mass transit and electric vehicles do not pay any gas tax yet still obviously use the roads. Those are two issues that need a solution.
However, earlier this week, even Governor Moore voiced his concern for the automatic increase, stating that the state should be helping working families. In response – the Maryland Senate Republican and House Republican Caucuses have jointly have called for a special session to end the automatic tax increases.
Stand with us by signing our petition to end automatic gas tax increases. Click here to sign!
Alert – “Recreational” Marijuana Legal on July 1:
Also going into effect on Saturday, July 1st, is the use of so-called “recreational” (or non medical use) marijuana. The new law – which I did not support but was passed by the voters in a Constitutional amendment in 2022 merges medical and recreational cannabis laws. Medical marijuana users with a card will not pay sales tax while all other purchasers will pay 9% – the same as the sales tax on alcohol.
The supporters of legalized marijuana sold it partly as a method for more money for things like K-12 education. However, the Maryland Department of Legislative Service estimates this bill will generate a measly $19 million in revenue statewide. It’s possible it could generate more than that but not significantly more. For that tiny amount of revenue, the state will be subjecting our citizens to increased drugged driving risks and the health issues associated with increased use of marijuana that will absolutely come when you tell people that something is now legal to consume. Even though there were people illegally smoking marijuana for a long time, legality will, I fear, bring an explosion in use which is one of many reasons I opposed it.
I wanted to be sure that you were aware of this official change to the law so that we can all be careful traveling on the July 4th holiday and throughout the summer season.
Traffic Alert: Westminster July 4th Fireworks (Plus info on Taneytown & Mt. Airy Fireworks)
The Carroll County Farm Museum will host the July 4th Celebration and fireworks on Tuesday, July 4th with a rain date of Wednesday, July 5th. In order to facilitate a safe and orderly traffic flow from the event the following roadways will be closed to all traffic at 8:30 pm and will remain closed until all the traffic has cleared at the conclusion of the fireworks:
-Center Street – From MD 140 to MD 32
-Gist Road – From MD 32 to Kate Wagner Road
-Kate Wagner Road – From MD 32 to MD 27
-Hook Road – From MD 32 to the High School Entrance
-Smith Avenue – From MD 32 to Gist Road
Additionally, Taneytown will be displaying a firework show on July 2nd at Memorial Park and Mt Airy has them on July 3rd at the Carnival Fairgrounds. There may be evening road closures in those areas as well.
Support our Local Volunteer Fire Department Carnivals This Summer – Schedule:
Carnivals hosted by local fire departments provide a great opportunity for the community to support their fire halls. Some carnivals in Carroll County have already concluded, however there are still several more coming up. Here is the schedule for the remaining carnivals:
7/03 – 7/08 Manchester Fire Company
7/10 – 7/15 Winfield Fire Company
7/17 – 7/22 Reese Fire Company
7/31 – 8/05 Mount Airy Fire Company
8/07 – 8/12 Hampstead Fire Company