Gas: Expect sticker shock

The price jump state residents saw in November, thanks to a 23 cent (but flexible and could rise) gas tax championed by Sussex County’s state senator, Steve Oroho, was just the beginning.

how-high-could-gas-prices-go-450.jpgStarting around the middle of this month, when purveyors begin to replace their current gas supplies with the reformulated gas mandated by the Vienna Agreement, expect prices to rise. OPEC, which represents most oil-producing nations, has also indicated that production cuts could send prices rising even more.

Oroho and other champions of the gas tax have attempted to cast the increase in a light of an overall tax reduction that benefits the majority of New Jerseyans.

In truth, however, the tax increase affects everyone who not only drives a car, but also takes buses or taxis, or purchases goods transported within the state) while the massive estate tax cut (and eventual elimination) saves money for the top 4 percent of people who leave estates: i.e., only the wealthiest residents. The increased in the Earned Income Credit, which affects the state’s poorest of the working poor, was miniscule.

In Sussex County, where 22,000 people commute to work outside the county, and 30 percent of households are considered struggling, the impact will be particularly severe. Not to mention that making it more expensive for middle class families to travel could have a negative impact on the tourist industry, which brought in more than $500 million in direct sales last year.