Gas tax still controversial

The fallout from New Jersey’s newest tax on petroleum products, which raised the price of gas by 23 cents per gallon and can even go higher, continues to fall.  And some of those kicking back the hardest are Republicans.

Oroho-Gas-Tax-2-500.jpgThis week Gov. Chris Christie suggested to the union representing road workers—25,000 of them—that legislators who opposed the gas tax were somehow against fixing the infrastructure and road workers having jobs, and he called upon them to punish the antis—whom he even compared to errant children—at the ballot box during the next election.

The tax, purportedly necessary to infuse needed money into the almost moribund Transportation Trust Fund, was part of a package that inflicted the regressive gas tax on everyone in the state (not forgetting that public transportation, taxis, and trucks that deliver goods also use gas) while providing cuts for the most wealthy by raising the threshold of (in 2017) and then eliminating the estate tax, which benefits the wealthiest 4 percent of estates in New Jersey. A miniscule decrease in the sales tax and equally miniscule increase in the Earned Income Credit come nowhere near making up for what residents will lose at the gas pump.

The primary sponsor of the bill, and a major supporter of the gas tax, was Sussex County’s state Sen. Steve Oroho, a Republican, who repeatedly spun the package as benefitting state residents equally.

Even some members of his own party, however, see the flaws in that, in response to Christie’s appeal, for example, state Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth), shot back: “"The bottom-line is the billion-dollar gas tax was not needed and no pressure from the governor or special interests will make me waver in my position."