Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

April 11, 2013

Mixed bag

New Md. laws bring changes for motorists

Now that the annual 90-day legislative session in Annapolis has concluded, Maryland drivers can brace for a number of changes — not the least of which is a hefty increase in the state’s gasoline tax.

The state’s 23.5 cents-per-gallon tax will move to an index tabulation, meaning the tax will be adjusted according to inflation. The first impact is expected to be a four-cent increase this July 1, with subsequent cost increases each year.

It remains our belief that the state should address its mass transportation funding shortages through a fee or tax paid by the urban residents who use the transit system. It was an argument made by a number of rural legislators, but without success.

Another disappointment was the failure of legislation to fix errors and abuses with the state’s speed camera program. Motorists have long complained that the cameras are faulty, particularly those used in school zones.

There were a few positives to come out of the legislature, including a measure to hold a referendum to provide constitutional protection of transportation tax dollars. The so-called lockbox legislation asks voters whether they want to prohibit use of transportation funds for other state expenditures. The vote will take place in the general election of 2014.

People who continue to ignore the current law and talk on hand-held cell phones while driving will soon face stiffer penalties. Lawmakers voted to make the cell phone prohibition a primary offense. Fines for first-time violators increase to $75 from $40 and increase with each subsequent offense. No points will be assessed to a motorist’s license unless the offense contributes to a crash.

Another bill that should enhance transportation safety requires passengers in the rear seat of a vehicle to wear a seat belt. Children under the age of 8 will still be required to be in a child safety seat, unless the child is 4 foot, nine inches or taller.

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Editorials
  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

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  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014

  • Editorial Cartoon Editorial Cartoon

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Decriminalizing marijuana lines pockets of drug cartel

    Has the Maryland government decided they like contributing to the drug cartel? Their new decriminalization of marijuana does nothing but line the pockets of the cartel.

    April 11, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo