Government

Senate Tackles Assembly Proposal to Increase NJ Gas Tax 23 Cents Per Gallon

834b9c52ea2d8f29330e_sompixjackciattarelli.jpg
"Fiscally speaking, I fear we’re only digging a deeper and deeper hole, the sides of which could soon cave in.” - Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli 
a75c4fd2248d920bc5c2_sompixkipbateman__1_.jpg
State Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman said he does not support the Assembly bill that would increase the NJ gasoline tax by 23 cents per gallon.  
834b9c52ea2d8f29330e_sompixjackciattarelli.jpg

TRENTON, NJ – A showdown is expected Thursday when the state Senate opens debate on a contentious plan to increase the state’s gasoline tax by 23 cents a gallon.

Veteran Somerset County lawmakers oppose the plan.

The estimated $2 billion raised annually by the gas tax would be used to replenish the state’s battered Transportation Trust Fund over the next 10 years.

Sign Up for E-News

The state Assembly voted 53-22 to approve the gasoline tax plan early Tuesday morning following intense give-and-take negotiations between Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) and Gov. Chris Christie.

The governor agreed to support the increase in return for a decrease in the state sales tax from 7 to 6 percent, phased in over three years.

The Assembly voted 53-23 in favor of the sales tax cut.

Christie also demanded an increase in the earned-income tax credit and elimination of the state’s onerous estate tax in return for his support of the increased gas tax.



"In talking with the governor, this is a bill that he would sign,” the assembly speaker said early Tuesday morning after the 1 a.m. votes on the two bills.

"This is a bill that actually takes care of our transportation infrastructure needs by fully funding it for eight years; $2 billion fund every year for eight years. And actually, we would be able to fund our Transportation Trust Fund with new revenue, something that we have not done since 1988. So, this is historical.

"And this plan, it actually is a two-pronged approach. We're reducing a regressive tax -  the sales tax - over a two year period at half a percent going then down to six-and-a-half and then to six percent,". Prieto said.

"So, this will be a bill that helps everybody across the board and really, it'll be a win-win for all the residents of the State of New Jersey." Prieto added.

Somerset County Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, (R-16th), who voted against both bills, disagrees.

“We’re decreasing a tax that affects all New Jerseyans to justify increasing a tax that affects all New Jerseyans,” Ciattarelli said.  “The trade-off seems like a shell game.  Factor in our structural budget deficits, I voted ‘no.’    Fiscally speaking, I fear we’re only digging a deeper and deeper hole, the sides of which could soon cave in,” he added. 

 “Tonight, all the Trenton insiders did was pave New Jersey’s road to higher taxes,” said Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris).  “This State Street ‘deal’ is an instant $850 million tax hike on overtaxed Main Street New Jerseyans, with as much as $4.8 billion more in tax hikes coming in the next few years. And it doesn’t offer taxpayers their money back until five years from now, if it ever comes back at all.

“We have a serious problem and have to fix the Transportation Trust Fund. But New Jersey’s biggest problem is our crushing tax burden, and any ‘deal’ like this one, that makes the tax burden worse, is just a raw deal for New Jersey,” Webber added.

Middlesex County Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democrat and chairman of the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee, opposed the bill because of the tax cuts that were included.

“It creates a hole in the budget at a time when we already have difficulty paying bills,” he said.

The 23-cent increase could go into effect as soon as Friday, the first day of the state’s new fiscal year. The 1 percent sales tax cut would be phased in over three years, with full implementation in January 2018.

However, the Senate must weigh in on Thursday, and according to state Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer) the bill in its present form will have a difficult time wending its way through the Senate.

“It’s not a good bill,” Bateman said. “I’m not supporting it and I don’t know of any member of the GOP caucus that is in support of the proposal,” he added.

“I don’t know what is going to happen,” he continued. “It’s asking people to pay 23 cents more per gallon while hoping for a tax break down the road; it puts a bigger gap in the budget and we can’t make the state pension payments now. A lot has to change,  there’s no one for it."

Bateman also took exception to the late night, down-to-the-wire negotiations which excluded the Senate..

“It’s not fair to the consumers. It’s a lousy way to run government,” Bateman said. “We (Senate members) went home around 7 p.m., and then the Assembly voted on it first thing this morning; to do that in the early morning hours without debate is outrageous. We’re not happy.

“No wonder the public is cynical about the legislature,” Bateman said.

New Jersey’s gasoline tax is 14.5 cents per gallon, second only to Alaska as the lowest in the country. The 23-cent increase, if it were to be approved, would mean a 63 percent increase in the state’s gasoline tax to 37.5 cents per gallon, pushing New Jersey to number seven on the list of states with the most expensive gasoline tax.  The last gasoline tax increase in New Jersey came in 1989.

The state’s beleaguered Transportation Trust Fund, burdened by debt payment from years of borrowing, will run out of money this summer without an infusion of billions. The TTF pays for bridge, tunnel and road repair projects throughout the state.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Randolph

Randolph Soccer Club 2018-19 Tryouts Begin Next Week

April 20, 2018

RAANDOLPH, NJ- Randolph Soccer Club is holding tryouts for the 2018-19 season (fall of 2018 & spring of 2019) starting the week of April 23.  For additional information, please visit RSC’s website (Click Here).

These tryouts will be for ages 8U – 15U (birth years 2011-2004) for full-year teams for both boys and girls.  Free online pre-registration is recommended ...

PAWS for a Cause April 28th at Heistein Park

April 17, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- 8th grade students at Randolph Middle School would like to invite the public to our Paws For A Cause Walk-A-Thon at Heistein Park on April 28th from 10:30 a.m to 12:00 p.m.

RMS students are hosting this event along with the 11th Hour Rescue as part of our “take action” initiative for a 8th grade Capstone Project. The purpose of ...

Celebrating 100 years: Joseph Berry, Long Time Randolph Resident

April 15, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ - Joseph Berry, Jr., resident of Randolph since the 1940s, turned 100 years old on March 16, and the township council issued a proclamation for “a day of joy, happiness and reflection,” during Thursday’s meeting.

As a Randolph resident, Berry served with the Ironia Fire Company and established a Boy Scout Troop in Ironia. He also volunteered as a member of the ...

March Randolph Police Blotter Includes Multiple Possession Charges

April 13, 2018

On February 28, 2018, Shaquille Jacobs, age 19 of Maplewood, NJ was arrested by P.O. David Spence on an active warrant which was issued by the Maplewood Township Municipal Court. Mr. Jacobs was transported to the Randolph Police Department where he was processed and released after posting bail.  ...

Mayor Forstenhausler on Randolph Budget

April 9, 2018

One of the key responsibilities of our township council is to plan an annual budget. The first step is a discussion with the Township Manager and the CFO so that they know the goals of our Mayor and Council. Then they work with the various department heads with those goals in mind. Once a draft budget is completed, our Council holds several open public meetings to review the details of that draft ...

More Than Just Kindness for Roxbury Student Adored by Tragically Killed Boy

April 17, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – She lost her 10-year-old son three years ago in a boating accident on Lake Hopatcong, but Laurie D’Amico is sure her beloved Christopher speaks to her all the time. It’s subtle but firm, she says; messages that come as sparks of recollection, inspiration or intuition.

One of those unexpected inklings led Laura and her husband Chris to a jewelry ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 22, 12:00 PM

Gottesman RTW Academy, Randolph

Israeli Festival 2018

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_e8f0966aa3efcada3a57_branches_resized_1_

Mon, April 23, 7:00 AM

Randolph

Spring Branch Collection

Community Calendar

Carousel_image_b159d2691ca0eae5a11c_randolph_mac

Tue, April 24, 7:00 PM

Randolph Township Community Center, Randolph

Hidden in Plain Sight

Community Calendar

Randolph High School Student Selected for Prestigious NJ Scholar Program

April 22, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- Randolph High School junior Renee Shen has been accepted to the prestigious New Jersey Scholar Program.

Renee said she is proud to represent Randolph High School and excited to attend the program from June 24-July 27 at the Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

RHS Principal Debbie Iosso, Counseor Tashi Oyola and Teacher Peter Flynn met Renee in the high ...

Randolph High School Junior Selected for New Jersey Governor's School in the Sciences

RANDOLPH, NJ- Randolph High School junior Julia Miao has been selected to attend the 31st New Jersey Governor's School in the Sciences at Drew University July 8-28.

Julia said she was very surprised to receive this honor. "I feel very excited and lucky to have been selected for this program," said Julia, who is a member of the high school's Science, Math, English, ...

Randolph Middle School Students Selected for Honors Orchestras

April 17, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- Randolph Middle School musicians Joanna Peters, Kieran Lucas and Shoshana Zeiger who have been accepted to the NJSMA Region 1 Intermediate Orchestra and All-State Intermediate Orchestra!

"The students will grow musically and will learn wonderful new repertoire and meet some wonderful new conductors," said RMS Director of Orchestra Genevieve R. Sallemi.

Kieran said ...

Lauren Madalian Commits to West Chester University, To Play Rugby

April 12, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- Lauren Madalian, Randolph High Sxhool class of 2018, has committed to play Division 1AA Rugby for West Chester University in PA. Madalian was also accepted into the colleges honors program.

During her time at RHS, Madalian earned Varsity letters in Field Hockey, Basketball & Soccer.  Her first love was soccer when she began to play in ...

Long Beach Island Summer Shuttle No Longer a Free Ride

April 18, 2018

BRANT BEACH — The Long Beach Island Shuttle, an extremely popular service for visitors and residents of Long Beach Island, will have a fee for the first time beginning Memorial Day weekend. 

The Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners made the announcement at their meeting on Monday, April 9. 

Here is the overview on the fees:

One-way shuttle rides from 10 a.m. to ...

Letter to the Editor: Don't Complain. Vote!

April 15, 2018

Don’t Complain; Vote!

It’s no secret that people have strong feelings about what’s happening in our country. It’s also true that much of politics is local. In November, 11th District residents will have the opportunity to choose a new congressional representative who will not only serve as a critical check on the federal level, but also determine how our distract fares ...

Free Veterans Legal Clinic and Benefits Expo; Friday April 27

April 20, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - A free Legal Clinic and Resources Expo is scheduled for all Morris County Veterans on  Friday, April 27.  The event will take place at the Morristown Municipal Building, 200 South Street, third floor senior citizens room from 11am - 2pm.  Free coffee and donuts will be served.

“We urge our veterans to take advantage of this program ...

April is STD Awareness Month and Get Yourself Tested Month

April is Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Awareness Month, a national campaign to increase awareness about education, treatment, and prevention of STDs.  

STDs are common, affecting 1 in 2 sexually active people during their lifetime - and most people don't know they are infected.  The rate of STDs is increasing, with a 68% increase in bacterial sexually transmitted ...

Atlantic Health Among Six Regional Health Systems Forming Clinical Research Consortium

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Seeking to bring clinical trials and innovations in medicine even closer to home, Atlantic Health System, parent company of Morristown Medical Medical Center, is now part of a group of six regional health systems that are founding members of a nonprofit clinical research consortium – Partners in Innovation, Education, and Research (PIER Consortium) ...

Team Veronica Holds "Be the Match" Drive, Monday April 23

Team Veronica is coming to a town near you!

Veronica, is a seven year old, who needs a bone marrow transplant. 

Be The Match is a national registry for finding a match(es) for a bone marrow transplant. It is a simple swab test of the inside of your mouth. 

On Mon., April 23, Be The Match, will be at the Bayonne Fire House from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Elise Johanssen of Be The Match ...