TAX ATTACK: The Maryland Limousine Association (MLA) is circulating a petition to stop Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s proposed 25-cent per-person taxi tax that also applies to limousine passengers. The tax, proposed by the mayor in April, is expected to raise $1.3 million per year for the city and earmarked to boost the city’s general operating fund.
“The city should look at their own expenditures and cutting costs. This tax effects only the legitimate operators,” said Joanna Fridinger, president of the MLA. “Hacks and out-of-state operators won’t pay this. It is almost like the city wants you to work illegitimately. We are being penalized because we play by the rules.”
Municipalities are searching to find revenue streams that are not a direct tax on constituents. The problem with this per-person tax is that it is one more onerous fee that will burden limousine operators. Companies that have airport contracts (taxis, Super Shuttle, and Execucar) are exempt from the proposed tax, Fridinger said.
Operators will be charged the tax when they drop off and pick up in the city. However, if operators travel through Baltimore, including the harbor tunnels, the tax is not charged. Operators will be required to maintain a passenger log that must be turned into the city monthly.
“How many operators actually track the number of people in the car? If you operate in Baltimore, this means you will need to put in place more systems to collect the information and then in turn pay the city,” Fridinger said.
“Many operators do not even know this is happening,” she said. “Baltimore is a melting pot of people and nationalities. Smaller operators may not understand what this all about.”
The MLA plans to use the media to get the word out about the proposed tax and work with the taxi operators to appeal the tax, Fridinger said. If you want to get involved, email [email protected]
— Linda M. Jagiela, LCT Magazine
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