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

Road Resurfacing Work in Randolph for July 9 - 16

July 7, 2018

Below is a list of the streets for the upcoming resurfacing work. All roads will remain open for local traffic and emergency vehicles. Motorists should allow additional time for travel.



Street Name
Dates of Milling
Dates of Paving


Springhill Road - Forrest Road to #40
7/9
7/11-12


Musiker Avenue - Morey Lane to ...

Randolph Diner: Serving Up the Next Version of the Diner Experience

July 16, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- A diner, back in the early days of diners, typically referred to a restaurant that resembled a dining car on a train. Today, most diners still have a long counter and an array of booths lining the windows – much like the old railroad dining cars – but in many communities, the “diner” evolved into something more than a restaurant.

The diner became a ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_0deb1f4be39307d4940f_coffee_with_a_cop_banner_photo__2_

Thu, July 19, 9:00 AM

Brooklyn Bagel, Randolph

Coffee with a Cop

Community Calendar

Carousel_image_129b24747b7c95bfefaa_puppet

Thu, July 19, 7:00 PM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Musical Monters

Community Calendar

Carousel_image_6e617a468ce0c6ee69fb_el_spotscolor_13

Mon, July 23, 9:30 AM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Nursery Rhyme Time

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Health & Wellness Other

Catriona Lucus Selected to Play in 2018 National Lacrosse Academy  

July 16, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- Catriona Lucus, a rising freshman at Randolph High School has been named as a 2018 Maverik National Lacrosse All-Star and has been selected to attend the Maverik National Lacrosse Academy to be held July 16-19, 2018 in Frederica, Delaware at the DE Turf Sportsplex.

Catriona plays on the DEWLAX 2022 West club lacrosse team as well as being chosen to play with the DEWLAX ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Education: A Bedrock of Democracy, Civic Engagement and Economic Prosperity

July 6, 2018

More than 240 years ago, our nation’s founders envisioned a country where individuals could forge their own destinies and not be constrained by the circumstances of birth. The essential concept was that people could govern themselves and participate in democracy, or what Benjamin Franklin and others called “a great experiment.” The vision was bold and has flourished as the ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 16, 2018

Eliminates Prior Approval for Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Medications; Counseling Options to be Expanded

July 16, 2018

(TRENTON) – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death ...

Garden State Urology named a Center of Excellence by NAFC

Urology group recognized for exemplary care, dedication to patients

WHIPPANY, NJ – Garden State Urology, part of Atlantic Medical Group, was recently designated a Center of Excellence by the National Association for Continence.

Garden State Urology is a cooperative urology group that provides residents in northwestern New Jersey with a modern, integrated, comprehensive health care ...

Registration open for Randolph Hebrew with Early Bird Discount!

Entering its 17th year, Randolph Hebrew of Morris County has opened registration to new students for the upcoming school year that is set to begin on Sunday, September 16th.

Randolph Hebrew enjoys a well-earned reputation as a trend setter in creative Jewish education. It's well trained staff, cutting edge curriculum along with the teacher to student ration allows for individualized ...

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey

How often do you read TAPinto?  Have you downloaded the TAPinto APP?  These are a few of the questions for readers in our 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

We want to hear from you!

The survey will take less than five minutes to complete and will help TAPinto better serve you. 

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

Thank you.  We appreciate your support and ...

Atlantic Health System, MedExpress partner in 11 New Jersey Urgent Care Centers

Atlantic Health System, an integrated health care delivery system, and MedExpress, a neighborhood health care provider, are collaborating to coordinate care between MedExpress' 11 neighborhood medical centers in northern New Jersey and Atlantic Health System's extensive clinically integrated network of physicians, hospitals and other care sites.

The jointly owned centers will enable ...