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Christie OKs Gas Tax Increase; Bateman Launches Repeal Effort

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TRENTON, NJ - State Sen. Kip Bateman (R-Somerset, Middlesex, Mercer, Hunterdon) said he will introduce legislation to repeal the 23 cent-per-gallon gas tax increase that was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie late Friday afternoon.

Bateman made the announcement shortly after Christie signed the bill.

“Through this legislation, we are continuing our commitment to providing tax relief for working New Jerseyans of all income levels, senior citizens, military veterans and property owners, while ensuring solid, reliable, state-of-the-art roads, bridges and mass transit systems,” Christie said in a statement after signing the bil

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 “Over the next eight years, a record $32 billion in state and federal funds will be invested in infrastructure improvements and modernizations in New Jersey,” Christie added. "This compromise legislation locks in what I called for from the beginning: tax fairness for all residents, leading to a more affordable state and an improved economy.”

Bateman, who opposed and voted against the gas tax increase last week, also announced the launch of a new online petition to give drivers and commuters the opportunity to have their voices heard.

Last week the Senate voted 22-14 in favor of the increase; the state Assembly voted 44-27 in favor of the plan.

“The public is upset. They’re mad,” Bateman said.

“While the Governor and the Democrat-led Legislature didn’t listen to the tens of thousands of New Jerseyans who spoke out against raising the gas tax, I listened and understand their concerns,” Bateman added. “The overtaxed people of New Jersey have demanded that we find another way to fund our transportation needs without taking more out of their pockets. This repeal effort is recognition that there are fiscally responsible alternatives to the gas tax.”

The 23 cents-per-gallon increase is expected to raise $2 billion annually for each of the next eight years to fund the state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund, which pays for repairs to the state’s roadways, bridges and tunnels and mass transit systems. The state will also be eligible for matching funds from the federal government.

The plan also calls for the elimination of the state's estate tax, and a slight reduction in the state sales tax over the next two years from 7 percent to 6.625 percent.

The fund has been insolvent since June 30 forcing all non-emergency state transportation projects to shut down, idling more than 4,000 construction workers.

Christie also signed off on a bill yesterday that rescinds the executive order issued June 30 shutting down construction projects financed by the TTF.

Bateman’s proposal to repeal the gas tax increase will be introduced when the Senate meets next week, according to Bateman.

“I’ve heard from so many commuters who struggle financially every time the price of gas rises, and they’re pleading for help to save them from the gas tax increase,” added Bateman. “Lawmakers have a responsibility to not harm already struggling residents through our state’s tax policy, and that’s what this effort to repeal the gas tax increase is all about. I encourage everyone to sign and share the online petition to help get the repeal movement rolling.

“It’s the right thing to do,” he added.

Bateman’s new petition to support the repeal of the gas tax increase can be signed at senatenj.com/gastaxrepeal.

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