Poll: NJ Residents Say No to Gas Tax Hike
Gas prices have dipped below $2 a gallon, but that doesn't mean New Jersey residents are ready for a gas tax increase, according to a poll released on Jan. 19 by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind.
"Even though gas prices are falling and New Jersey has one of the lowest gas taxes in the country, few say they're ready to stomach paying more at the pump even if the money is used to pay for road and bridge repairs," said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and director of PublicMind. "Sixty-eight percent of residents oppose raising the tax, with 28 percent who are in favor."
The results are similar to other polls on the issue conducted by PublicMind in the past.
In a March 2014 poll, 72 percent of respondents said that despite the need for road and bridge projects, taxes should not be raised on gas to pay for road improvements. In a poll from January 2010, 61 percent of registered voters were against the tax increase and in a 2006 survey 74 were opposed.
Legislators advocating for an increase in the gas tax vow that all revenue raised would be dedicated solely to road, bridge and tunnel repairs, but many New Jerseyans doubt that.
"In our latest poll, we find that 31 percent said that they don't believe the money would actually go for road and bridge repairs and 45 percent believe that they're already overtaxed and that's the reason that they wouldn't want to pay more," Jenkins said.
New Jersey has the third lowest gas tax in the nation and supporters of an increase said residents would still pay less than people in most other states, while also having roads and bridges that are safer and less congested.
The survey found that 44 percent of those polled can correctly identify the New Jersey rate as below the national average, with the same number unsure.
"New Jersey residents see the need for road repairs, but they want policymakers to find the revenue somewhere else rather than tap their over-taxed wallets," Jenkins said.
The poll was conducted by telephone from Jan. 5 through Jan. 11, 2015 using a randomly selected sample of 805 adults aged 18 and older in New Jersey. Jenkins said one can be 95 percent confident that the error attributable to sampling has a range of +/- 3.5 percentage points.