BREAKING: No Gas Tax for Now, NJ Senator Says
TRENTON — A top Democratic lawmaker says the New Jersey Senate is not set to take any action today on legislation to hike the gas tax by 23 cents while cutting the sales tax.
Sen. Paul Sarlo, the budget committee chairman, said Thursday lawmakers are continuing to work on a deal that is acceptable to the Assembly and Republican Gov. Chris Christie but there won't be a vote Thursday.
The Assembly approved a measure that pays for road and bridge work for eight years and hikes the gas tax by from 14.5 cents to 37.5 cents while cutting the sales tax from 7 percent to 6 percent over about two years.
Sarlo and Senate President Steve Sweeney support a competing plan that also raises the gas tax but included other tax cuts.
Gov. Chris Christie defended the gas tax plan on WPG's sister station, New Jersey 101.5, Thursday in at-times insult-laden exchange with morning host Bill Spadea, an ardent opponent of the plan.
Christie accused Spadea of fudging math on the gas tax and being dismissive about the savings residents would see through the sales tax break. Spadea has said the single percent off the sales tax — first phased in as half a percent in six months, then a full percent after 18 months — wouldn't compare to the 23-cent gas tax hike for most residents.
“If you think the comparison is 1 cent to 23 cents, then you really would have failed fourth-grade math,” the governor said — telling Spadea a moment later, “You sound like a fourth-grader.”
The gas tax is meant to fill the coffers of the state's Transportation Trust Fund, which is set to run out of money July 1.
— Associated Press and Staff reports