Government

Christie Orders Halt to All State-Funded Construction Projects; 23-Cent Gas Tax Increase Uncertain

7d9bcf8eaa704397a349_b4c4deb17d0268a39f23_sompixchristieTTFpressconference.JPG
Gov. Chris Christie holds a press conference Wednesday at the Statehouse to answer questions about the Assembly proposal to increase the state's gasoline tax 23 cents per gallon. Credits: Governor's Office/Tim Larsen
7d9bcf8eaa704397a349_b4c4deb17d0268a39f23_sompixchristieTTFpressconference.JPG

TRENTON, NJ – Gov. Chris Christie has shut down state-funded highway construction projects effective Saturday, July 2 after the state Senate balked at an Assembly plan backed by Christie that would have increased the state’s gasoline tax by 23-cents per gallon, money that would used to replenish the state’s battered Transportation Trust Fund.

Without a new source of revenue, the fund will run out of money by mid-August. Federally-funded projects will not be affected by Christie’s order.

New Jersey’s 14.5 gas tax is the second lowest in the nation’ the increase to 37.5 cents would make it the seventh highest.

Sign Up for E-News

The Assembly plan has two major components: the gas tax increase, and an agreement to reduce the state’s sales tax from seven to six percent over an 18-month period. It would also raise the retirement income tax threshold.

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 Christie.

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

The Senate plan seeks broader tax reductions in return for support of a gas tax increase – elimination of the estate tax, bigger deductions for charitable giving, an expanded a tax credit for the working poor similar to the Assembly plan, an increase in the retirement income tax exclusion.

The Senate version would also phase in the gas tax increase over an unspecified period of time.

“I can’t support a 23-cent increase all at one time,” said State Sen. Christopher “Kip" Bateman R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex.  “It’s not fair to the public.

“I’ll take a look at it if it’s more gradual; most of the Senate feels it is too much to ask for all at once.

“The Assembly stripped out all the good elements of the original bill,” he added.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, sent his colleagues home early Thursday afternoon when it became clear a compromise could not be worked out.

“There’s very little support for the Assembly version.” Bateman said. “Steve Sweeney decided to adjourn and said ‘we’ll talk about it in the future.’ ‘’

Bateman said Senate committees are scheduled to return to Trenton for conferences on July 14.

“It’s possible, though, that we could get called back next week,” he said Friday, if Christie, Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Pietro can find common round in the next two weeks.

“They’ll be trying to come up with a compromise,” Bateman added.”They have a little bit of work ahead of them.”

Prieto signaled a willingness to compromise in a statement released by his office on Friday.

“We all know we need a transportation funding plan the governor will sign and we need it as soon as possible,” Prieto said. “This is too important for jobs — especially in our construction industry — and our economy to allow this to continue.”

Christie issued an executive order to halt all state-funded construction projects after a meeting with Sweeney late Thursday.

“Senate Democrats are clearly conflicted over how to appease their public and private-sector union masters, because their union masters also are divided over the bipartisan tax fairness solution that passed the Assembly. The Senate’s inaction ignored the benefits the package would bring to the overburdened taxpayers of New Jersey, who would benefit daily from the sales tax cut it would provide and the retirement income tax elimination for 81 percent of senior citizens,” Christie said.

“The Senate’s inaction also ignored New Jersey’s necessary transportation infrastructure improvements, as well as the hundreds of private-sector workers who came to Trenton today with their jobs hanging in the balance, because the Senate failed to re-authorize this Transportation Trust,” Christie said.

“As Governor, I am entrusted with the responsibility to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this State, as well as the responsibility to aid in the prevention of damage, loss, or destruction of property in the event of emergencies affecting the State. As this executive order states, in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this State, it is necessary that the remaining amounts held by the TTF not be spent on any transportation project that is not absolutely essential,” he added.

Critics of the Assembly plan say the trade-offs will cost the state $2 billion annually in revenues, money the state can ill afford to lose.

Assemblyman Jack Ciatttarelli, R-16th, whose district includes Somerset County and other central New Jersey counties voted against the Assembly verison earlier this week.

“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.

Opponents and supporters of the gas tax increase also had their say, flooding the internet with their conflicting viewpoints throughout the week:

- New Jersey Business & Industry Association: “The bill approved by the Assembly early Tuesday morning did not contain a phase-out of the estate tax and, therefore, does not provide the comprehensive reform that NJBIA continues to call for. NJBIA continues to strongly support estate tax relief. It is a common misconception that the estate tax only benefits the wealthy. In fact, the estate tax has a broad impact on the state’s economy and business succession planning, particularly for family-owned businesses.”

- Americans for Prosperity: “Today was a historical day in Trenton as the public’s outcry has been heard. With today’s impasse in the Legislature, we look to the lawmakers to go back to the drawing board to craft a better transportation plan for taxpayers and enact cost-cutting reforms and real tax relief for New Jerseyans. AFP thanks our hard-working citizen-activists and principled legislators who have stood up for residents.”

- National Federation of Independent Business: “A one percent reduction in the sales tax slowly phased in over 18 months will barely be noticeable to tax payers and will do nothing to offset the drastic increase in the gas tax that will immediately impact anyone in New Jersey buying gas. Elected officials on both sides of the aisle have failed to address the fundamental issues that exist with funding infrastructure improvements in our state and until they are willing to tackle the larger scale issues, our state economy will continue to suffer as our politicians pave the streets of Trenton with more and more poorly spent tax dollars.”

·- Forward New Jersey: “The TTF goes bankrupt tomorrow.  After days, weeks, months, years, we have officially reached the end of the line.  It is highly disappointing that today came and went with no compromise, as it would have spared New Jerseyans the problems we are about to encounter. After weeks of enormous progress, what has happened these last few days is incredibly disappointing. Every day of inaction threatens thousands of jobs, the economic vitality of our state, cheapens the image of New Jersey and, most importantly, compromises the safety and well-being of millions of New Jersey residents.  This cannot be allowed to lag on. The TTF is being hijacked over a debate on which taxes to cut, all of which would be beneficial to the people of New Jersey  We need a resolution to the issue and leadership should work every second of every day to get this done.” 

·- Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative:  “If we go past today without a plan to replenish the fund, projects to repair and maintain roads and bridges throughout the state will come to a halt, posing an immediate safety hazard to New Jersey residents. There will be absolutely no funds to maintain the 596 “structurally deficient” or 1,714 “functionally obsolete” bridges throughout the state.”

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Sparta

Sparta Police: Drunk Brooklyn Man Asks Police to Shoot Him

May 20, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A Brooklyn man was taken for observation when he asked police to shoot him after having crashed his car down an embankment on County Road 517 near the Sparta Middle School.  On May 17 around 2:06 a.m. Sparta Police Officers Brian Porter and Timothy Lynott found Joshua Lindland of Brooklyn asleep in the driver’s seat of a gray Audi against a tree, police ...

Sparta Police: Passengers Face Drug Charges in Traffic Stop

SPARTA, NJ – Two Wantage women face drug charges after the car they were in was stopped for a broken headlight on Route 15.  On May 5 around 2 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Ben Griffin pulled over Alex Torres, 22, driving a white Honda Accord with two passengers, police say.

The officer saw a metal marijuana grinder behind the driver’s seat.  The car and ...

JCP&L Latest Information, Free Ice and Water

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – As of 8:47 p.m. JCP&L is reporting 12,745 customers or 22.11 percent, are without power in Sussex County.  In Sparta 2749 or 32 percent remain in the dark.

JCP&L said they anticipate the “vast majority of the remaining customers to be restored to service by late Thursday.”

JCP&L customers without power can get ice and water ...

Republican Party Values

May 21, 2018

Campaigns are interesting things.

Throughout the process, my opponents' supporters have labeled me a "political prostitute", "pimping" a message as a "spokesperson". I've been in a public meeting when referred to as a "lackey" who 
"belongs in a cage like the animal you are".

It's been said directly to me by a ...

Ethical Or Political Stunt

On May 9th Sussex County Freeholder Director Jonathon Rose announced formation of the Sussex County Transparency Committee. A committee established to monitor the ethics of County politicians.  

Alarming is what was left out of this announcement. Besides naming the dynamic duo Lazzaro and Graham, two other names show cause for curiosity. Jonathon never acknowledged, nor did he ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_fd1cdb2a28e320db4cdd_img_7405

Thu, May 24, 6:00 PM

Sparta High School Media Center, Sparta

Sparta High School Art Gala

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, May 26, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Carousel_image_eda4582229827b1fe4f5_img_7405

Sat, May 26, 11:00 AM

Sparta High School Media Center, Sparta

Sparta High School Art Gala

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, June 2, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, June 9, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, June 16, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Thu, June 21, 2:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Summer Afternoon Garden Soiree

Home & Garden

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Newton's Petition to Move Election Certified, Tabled to May 30 by Council

May 15, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—The petition to move elections from May to November was certified by the clerk and presented to the Newton Town Council at the meeting on Monday night.  The petition has been circulating since April and was a point of controversy in the recent council election campaigns.

According to the town attorney, the town clerk certified “369 valid signatures of qualified ...

10-Year Old Boy Battling Cancer Receives Generous Donation From Randolph Hockey Family

May 20, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real life battles off the ice there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the Randolph Varsity hockey team, when they came together to deliver good wishes and ...

Why You Should Buy Your NJ Home Before Interest Rates Rise

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed from 3.95% in the first week of January up to 4.61% last week, marking a 7-year high according to Freddie Mac. Many factors fueled the current pace of acceleration.  Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, opines:

“Healthy consumer spending and higher commodity prices spooked bond markets and led to higher mortgage ...

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now?

 

Bottom Line


According to the US Census Bureau, ‘millennials’ are defined as 18-36-year-olds.


According to NAR’s latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the median age of all first-time home buyers is 32.


More and more ‘old millennials’ (25-36) now realize homeownership is within their grasp now!

Are YOU ready for ...

Find Your Dream Home During Our DOUBLE Open House Weekend!

The forecast for this weekend is rain, rain, and more rain---so why not spend your time touring your new home?  Team Nest Builder offers 2 wonderful Open Houses this weekend, PLUS a new listing for you to check out via video tour!

27 Hilltop Trail, Sparta

Step into your own fairytale with this Lake Mohawk, storybook-sweet 3-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom gem! Gather in front of the rustic ...

Help Feed Hungry Sussex County Families Through Foodstock

Did you realize food pantry shortages INCREASE during the summer months? Decreased donations and increased need due to the summer break from school lunch and breakfast programs leave many Sussex County families hungry.  

Enter Foodstock:  an annual spring countywide food drive started 15 years ago through the coordinated efforts of Pass it Along, United Way of Northern New Jersey, ...

3 Tips for Making Your Home-Ownership Dream a Reality

 

Here's Highlights:


Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check = one of the best ways to save without thinking much about it.


Living within a budget right now helps you save money for down payments while also paying down other debts holding you back.  What are you willing to cut back on to make your dreams of homeownership ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders May 9 video

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ - Video of the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders May 9 meeting. 

 

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

Newton Town Pool Registration is Open

May 23, 2018

NEWTON, NJ – Memberships are available for the Newton Town Pool for the 2018 summer season. 

The Newton Town Pool has two water slides, a fully enclosed kiddie pool with walk-in entry, a grass picnic area, a picnic pavilion, lounge chairs, large pool umbrellas, snack stand, updated change rooms and an ADA lift.

The pool will be open June 25 through August 26.  Open swim ...