Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) warned today that drivers may soon face the triple threat of another gas tax hike, the addition of tolls on more New Jersey highways, and the resurrection of the failed Corzine plan to privatize the state’s toll roads.
“Last year’s billion dollar gas tax increase may have been the first step in a long-term plan by some to massively increase costs on New Jersey drivers,” said Beck. “Left-leaning special interest groups want to add tolls to currently free highways and to resurrect the failed Corzine privatization plan that would have resulted in 800% toll hikes. I vehemently opposed the toll scheme when Governor Corzine first proposed it, and successfully mobilized residents to defeat that plan. I’m ready to do it again.”
Beck led the opposition to the 23 cent per gallon gas tax increase last year. Her online petition was signed more than 26,000 times.
“One of the many reasons I voted against the billion dollar gas tax was the potential for annual increases that was built into the legislation,” said Beck. “Sadly, the law that was enacted last year allows for a new stealth gas tax hike that could be announced by this October 1st without any additional public debate or votes by the Legislature. Drivers deserve the opportunity to have their voices heard, but they’ve been shut out of the process.”
The law increasing the gas tax was designed to generate a constant stream of revenue year after year. The law requires the State Treasurer to examine gasoline sales annually to determine if the gas tax must be adjusted higher to account for declining sales. That annual review is currently under way.
Beck sent a letter last week to New Jersey Treasurer Ford Scudder requesting an update on this year’s review of gasoline sales, and guidance on any increase to the gas tax that may be announced.
“It’s bad enough that drivers could face annual gas tax increases, but it’s even worse when the State isn’t transparent about the process of raising taxes on its residents,” said Beck. “We’re working to hold the State accountable to ensure that drivers understand why they may pay more at the pump in the coming weeks.”
Beck noted that drivers could be soon hit with more than just higher gas taxes if the recommendations of a report issued by a group related to former Governor Jim Florio are enacted.
The report, commissioned by The Fund for New Jersey, says that the 23 cent per gallon gas tax increase isn’t nearly enough to fund the state’s transportation needs.
Among the recommendations in the report are the addition of new tolls on Interstate highways in New Jersey and the reconsideration of Governor Corzine’s plan to privatize tolls roads like the Garden State Parkway.
Some of the interstate highways that could see new tolls under that plan include I-195, I-295, I-78, I-80, and I-287.
The widely panned Corzine privatization plan would have leased or sold New Jersey’s toll roads, including the Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike, and Atlantic City Expressway, to a private operator. Under that plan, massive toll increases of up to 800% would have been authorized to generate a profit for the business.
“Plans to add tolls and sells our roads were soundly rejected by New Jerseyans during the Corzine era,” added Beck. “Rather than ask overtaxed New Jersey residents to pay even more in the wake of the massive gas tax increase, the State needs a better plan to spend the money we already collect more effectively.”
there should be a law restricting politicians from doing things that will be around long after they leave office. take it with you when you go. leave it to the newcomers to decide if it was a good idea. who cares now about corzine the (moderated)
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