Prince George's County gas tax, slots generate debate

Gas prices could creep even higher in Prince George's County if gas taxes go up. (Photo: Whitney Wild/NewsChannel 8)

Bernard Brown already has car troubles. He says higher gas prices wont make life any easier, either.

But for drivers throughout Prince George's County and Maryland, an increase at prices at the pump might be inevitable if the state's General Assembly adopts a higher gas tax during this year's session.

"I'm going to have to get a bike," Brown says. "It's took much. It's really too much."

In the past, funds from the gas tax were supposed to go to transportation, but they more often ended up covering costs where local budgets fell short. Now, though, county representatives say the fund is far too low.

Drivers aren't the only ones hurting, either. Gas station owners say a higher gas tax could hurt their bottom line as well.

"We're really struggling," says Brent McCoy, who owns an Exxon station in Cherry Hill. I believe the raise in gas prices right now is hurting my business."

In addition to the potential gas tax hike, lawmakers are also considering allowing slot machines in Prince George's County, with some residents saying that if the added revenue will help public facilities like schools and hospital, then they should be brought in. Some county officials, though, say the added revenue isn't worth the social stigma.

"I still think we don't need them," County Councilman Will Campos, who has campaigned against slot play in Prince George's, says. "It brings too many social issues to the constituency."

"If you don't play them, it's not a sin," county resident Cecil Ramsey say. "So, to each his own."