The Maryland legislature has again placed a burden on the taxpayers by adding another tax on gasoline. It seems that each time the state needs funds, it adds to the gas, liquor or property taxes to get it. I guess it's the easiest thing to do and it demonstrates the failure of the lottery -- there just aren't enough prizes to make playing worthwhile. Even a slot machine offers better odds.

But what puzzles me is that for years officials have ignored the crying need for statewide car inspections, despite the fact that the District and Virginia both have had them for some time. Such a bill is introduced each year, only to be soundly defeated every time.

Maryland has become a moving junkyard. Anyone can see the cars with bad brakes, steering and nonexistent lights, not to mention those with the torn fenders altered mufflers and defective shocks, and those which drop various parts on the road as they drive along. And yet the solons insist that inspection-approved gas stations can handle the problem, although most can't even repair a simple problem correctly.

If the state needs money, there is a fortune to be made not only by fining defective cars, but also by catching red-light runners, stop-sign flaunters, etc. How about training crossing guards to jot down the tag numbers of these people? It would relieve the police and bring in a substantial amount of money, as well as make the roads safer for all of us who obey traffic regulations.

As it stands now, there is an annual inspection of cars with anti-pollution devices. I don't mind that, but aren't these the best-maintained cars anyway? What about those that are older and aren't subject to any kind of control and are permitted to blow as much poison into the air as they please?

It would seem that our officials could come up with more equitable solutions to our problems -- ones that would benefit everyone and not penalize those who take care of their vehicles.