Baltimore Taxi Services to Engage in ‘Civil Disobedience’ to Protest New Tax

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Veolia Transportation launches Baltimore's first propoane-powered taxi fleet, May 11 2012.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s new taxi and limo tax of 25 cents per person, per trip is a key part of her overall revenue-generating strategy in the face of a property tax cut designed to lure more homeowners to the city. Baltimore’s Finance Department projects that the tax will raise $1.3 million for the city. That is, as long as the city’s taxi services actually pay it.

A group of “taxi, limousine, and for-hire sedan companies” that represents a large majority of private transportation vehicles in Baltimore have banded together with a vow to  fight the new tax with “civil disobedience” — they say they simply won’t pay it.

It’s not just the nominal amount of the tax itself — which they say they are being prevented from offsetting by raising fares — that the companies object to. It’s also the administrative costs that will go into tracking every single passenger, something that they do not currently track and which — in the words of Maryland Limo Association President Joanna Fridinger — “is like trying to pick every single pea out of a bowl of pea soup.”

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke is cooking up legislation that would put off enforcement of the tax while a compromise can be reached between the city and the taxi cab operators.


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