The Transportation Trust Fund fiasco is hard to understand unless you look at it as a naked power play by lame duck Governor Chris Christie.
Republican State Senator Steve Oroho and Democratic State Senator Paul Sarlo put together a plan to raise New Jersey’s gas tax by 23 cents to fund the Transportation Trust Fund. The give and take that brought a majority of State Senators from both parties on board resulted in a compromise bill that included a cut in NJ’s estate tax. That cut in what the GOP calls a repressive “death tax” would, they say, keep retiring New Jerseyans from leaving the state. A compromise was needed, and this one makes political sense.
Along comes Christie and he wants it a different way. He put the kibosh on the Oroho/Sarlo plan by taking advantage of what appears to be some Democratic Party infighting. He got Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto to go along with a different plan to hike the gas tax. This one involves a cut in the sales tax.
Has anyone seriously proposed that seniors are leaving New Jersey because of its 7% sales tax?
This NJ.com article describes how Christie has managed to vent his pique by unilaterally halting repairs of roads and bridges in New Jersey. He ousted thousands of construction workers from their jobs during the peak road and bridge construction period. And his action will result in unnecessary increases in the cost of road and ridge repair work which was already underway. Is he blind to that fact that restarting unfinished construction projects is horrendously expensive? Or doesn’t he care?