Christie on Gas Tax Plan: I Like Parts of it, But More Work Needed
Gov. Chris Christie still isn’t on board with the revised Transportation Trust Fund plan, even after it capped the gas tax hike at 23 cents for the next 10 years. He expects lawmakers will make additional changes.
“As far as this bill is concerned, they’ve got work to do,” Christie said on Townsquare Media's "Ask the Governor."
Legislative committees are scheduled to vote Thursday on a plan to finance a $2 billion a year, 10-year transportation construction plan that would be funded in part through a 23-cent per gallon tax hike on gasoline, as well as higher taxes on jet fuel.
The plan also contains a number of tax cuts that lawmakers say would benefit the state economy and make New Jersey more attractive, including the phase out of the estate tax, a larger tax credit for the working poor, a tax credit for charitable donations and a larger tax exemption for retirement income.
“There are elements of it that I like. But as I’ve said before, I don’t think we’re there yet,” Christie said.
“This thing is a moving target, as you can see. They’re changing things tonight. They’re going to go back – I’ll bet you they’ll change things in committee tomorrow. You know why? They don’t have the votes,” Christie said.
Christie defended Sen. Steve Oroho, R-Sussex, who worked with Democrats to craft the proposal.
“Steve Oroho is very, very well-intentioned in all this, in my view. He sees all the money that’s going from the general fund into transportation projects right now, that it’s only going to get greater and greater over time,” Christie said, reiterating Oroho’s point that up to an estimated 30 percent of gas taxes are paid by residents of other states.
“He’s trying to correct a structural problem. And I admire Steve for his willingness to try to grapple with that problem. And quite frankly, if it wasn’t for me and Steve Oroho, there wouldn’t be any tax cuts being considered. They’d just be looking to raise the tax and not deal with tax fairness at all,” he said.
“So I think some of the criticism of Steve quite frankly has been unfair,” Christie said. “Now, I don’t sign on to what he’s got right now because I don’t think it’s good enough. And I’m governor, so I get to make that decision.”