NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Team Hikes Gas Tax, Says Christie Resisted Needed Increase

The Trump administration argues better fuel economy equals more driver deaths.

The Murphy administration says using less gas means residents must pay more in taxes. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The state gas tax is set to rise an additional 4.3 cents per gallon this October, with Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration laying part of the blame on former Gov. Chris Christie.

State treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said 1.7 cents of the tax increase is because Christie’s adminstration overestimated how much the state would collect in revenue during his tenure. Muoio claims Democrats now must close the gap in order to meet mandated funding for the state Transportation Trust Fund, according to a report on NJ101.5.

Muoio said that because state residents are conserving gas and aren’t spending enough at the pumps, the state needs to raise the taxes.

Earlier this summer, Senate President Steve Sweeney failed in his efforts to remove Murphy’s power to certify some state revenues. Sweeney had said the process had become politicized, with governors using their constitutional powers to manipulate revenue projections to suit their political needs.

Earlier this month, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said he would oppose tax increases in next year’s state budget.

The mechanism for the gas tax increase, however, is already baked into state law. This 4.3-cent increase brings state taxes to 41.4 cents on each gallon of motor fuel in New Jersey, about one-seventh of the cost of fuel now and 48.4 cents on each gallon of diesel, according to a report on NJ.com.

New Jersey increased the gas tax by 23-cents per gallon two years ago under Christie. As part of that deal, the legislature approved a small cut in the state sales tax. Murphy, however, has unsuccessfully campaigned to have that cut rescinded. The governor says residents wouldn’t really notice the increase.

With the gas tax increase, the state will now have the sixth-highest gas tax in the nation, the NJ101.5 report said.

Quote of the Day: “While I understand and can appreciate and am sympathetic to the plight of residents in Leonia, there’s a reason this statue says what it says.” — Judge Peter Bariso, ruling against Leonia’s efforts to block rush-hour traffic on city streets.

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NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Team Hikes Gas Tax, Says Christie Resisted Needed Increase