Mayor Mike Pantelides has proposed an ordinance to fleece ridesharing customers in Annapolis. Rather than deregulate the taxi industry, Mayor Pantelides has elected to charge every ridesharing customer an additional $0.25 on every ride they take.
PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF AND SUBJECT TO THE TERMS OF SECTION 10-406 OF THE PUBLIC UTILITIES ARTICLE, COMMENCING ON JULY 1, 2016 AND CONTINUING UNTIL JUNE 30, 2017, A FEE OF $0.25 SHALL BE ASSESSED FOR EACH TRIP GENERATED BY A TRANSPORTATION NETWORK SERVICE COMPANY ORIGINATING IN THE CITY OF ANNAPOLIS. THIS FEE SHALL BE SET FORTH IN THE ANNUAL FEES SCHEDULE AND IS SUBJECT TO AMENDMENT.
In May, Maryland state passed a bill which granted Maryland counties and municipalities the power to tax transportation network companies (TNCs). The $0.25 per ride tax is the maximum amount Mayor Pantelides is authorized to extract.
The state bill details the flow of new tax revenue generated from TNCs. First, the state authorizes counties and municipalities to levy a tax on every completed ride. TNCs are required to collect the tax from their drivers and submit to the state comptroller “the assessments and other revenues collected by the transportation network company on behalf of the transportation network operators"
“Assessment” is defined earlier in the bill as “A charge imposed by a local jurisdiction on each transportation network service."
The tax revenues are gathered from all Maryland municipalities and counties into one “Transportation Network Fund” operated by the state treasurer. The fund is then redistributed from the state back to the municipalities and counties where the ride took place. The bill does not specify any further where the funds are to be spent. In order to ensure compliance, the state is granted the power to inspect TNC’s records once per year.
Mayor Pantelides’ proposal takes cash out of customers’ pockets and redirects it through a maze of government bureaucracy and back into his own municipality’s hands, while failing to disclose how that money will be spent. City officials claim they are trying to level the playing field between taxis and TNCs. If that were the case they would deregulate the taxi industry, rather than extort ride sharing customers for $0.25 on every ride they take.
Mayor Pantelides proposal is on the agenda for tonight’s City Council meeting at 7pm.