Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) and Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) were joined by small business and taxpayer advocates in opposition of a proposed billion dollar gas tax increase at a State House press conference today. Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-39) offered a statement opposing the gas tax increase as well.
Beck has introduced a plan to fund the state’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) without a gas tax increase, and has hosted rallies in Tinton Falls and Freehold with concerned citizens who oppose raising the gas tax.
“We’re standing up for the citizens of New Jersey to oppose a billion dollar gas tax increase,” said Beck. “I’ve provided a detailed plan that shows there’s a real alternative to raising taxes. The thousands of people who signed our online petition and those who joined me at our rallies deserve for my legislation to be considered. Raising taxes shouldn’t be the only option that’s put up for a vote.”
Doherty has long-called for a study to examine excessive state transportation costs as the starting point of any transportation funding discussion. He is the sponsor of S-1888, which would create the “State Transportation Cost Analysis Task Force.”
“Advocates for a 23 cent per gallon gas tax increase have never explained why we need $2 billion annually for transportation spending,” said Doherty. “They’ve never seriously addressed the Reason Foundation report that shows we spend the most per mile in the nation or the disparity in spending figures cited by others. Before we ask drivers and taxpayers for even a penny more for our roads, I believe the state has an obligation to prove that the taxes and tolls already collected are spent wisely.”
Beck and Doherty were joined by Laurie Ehlbeck, State Director for NFIB, and Erica Jedynak, State Director for Americans for Prosperity. They expressed concerned for the negative impact that a gas tax increase would have on jobs and small businesses, and the additional burden that would be placed on taxpayers.
Although he was unable to attend the event, Senator Cardinale submitted comments opposed to increasing the gas tax.
“I am unalterably opposed to the gas tax increase. The Transportation Trust Fund is an idea that had great promise but has turned out to be a boondoggle. We now have a great deal of debt and still plenty of infrastructure problems,” said Cardinale. “We should not repeat the mistakes from the past, we should appropriate our infrastructure needs from the general fund and use the existing gas tax to pay down the Transportation Trust Fund debt. We must find a more efficient use of our money that we appropriate for roads and bridges and not have the highest, by far, cost per mile in our nation.”