GASOLINE TAX ONLY TO GET RECIPROCITY
December 31, 1922
Gov. Ritchie and Other Maryland Officials Announce Stand in D. C. Negotiations.
Maryland officials are powerless to enter into any negotiations for reciprocity with the District of Columbia save through the establishment of a gasoline tax in the District, according to a statement made yesterday by John N. Mackall, chairman of the Maryland state highway commission, to officials of the American Automobile Association here.
Mr. Mackall explained that the Maryland legislature had passed a law authorizing the governor of Maryland to negotiate for reciprocity between the District and Maryland January 1, 1924, provided the District would pass a gasoline tax before that time.
Any other method, he said, would delay reciprocity for still another year as the Maryland legislsture does not meet again until June 1, 1924, by which time all motorists of the District of Columbia would have purchased Maryland tags.
"We have been working for reciprocity between the District and Maryland for many years," said M. O. Eldridge, executive chairman of the A. A. A., yesterday, "and naturally were greatly interested in published reports that Maryland officials had decided to abandon all opposition to reciprocity with the District and make it an accomplished fact in the near future.
"However, when we called up John Mackall, chairman of the Maryland State highway commission for information on this subject Mr. Mackall informed us that he had just been in communication with Governor Ritchie and Motor Vehicle Commissioner Baughman, and that both of them had assured him that they had no idea of entering into any negotiations for reciprocity save through the medium of a gas tax in the District of Columbia and in accordance with the law to this effect passed by the Maryland legislature. He also declared that, contrary to printed reports, the Automobile Club of Maryland was still opposed to reciprocity save through the medium of a gasoline tax and that H. M. Lucius, secretary of that organization, had assured him yesterday morning that he favored reciprocity only if the District passed a gasoline tax.
"The American Automobile Association has tried to obtain reciprocity for many years," Mr. Eldridge continued, "through bills introduced in Congress, and we still hope to see Congress pass a law that will give the automobile tag of any State or District full recognition in any other State or District in the United States.
"At the same time we believe that a tax on gasoline, when in lieu of all other taxes, is the fairest method of taxing an automobile and as a vote of our members in the District showed a sentiment approximately seven to one in favor of such a tax we have worked to bring about a gasoline tax in Washington.
"We shall continue our efforts for nation-wide reciprocity, as there are thirty-four States that do not grant full reciprocity, but in the meantime we believe that the gasoline tax which will effect a great saving to motorists by the elimination of the purchase of Maryland tags, is the quickest method by which reciprocity between the District of Columbia and Maryland can be brought about.
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