DeCroce: Governor Needs To Find Options To Increasing The State’s Gas Tax

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (File Photo)

PARSIPPANY — New Jersey motorists will be paying more than 40 cents a gallon in gas taxes starting October 1 if Gov Phil Murphy pushes ahead with his plan to raise the gas tax by 9.3 cents, says Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce.

The gas tax hike is part of the governor’s revised FY 2021 budget that seeks to raise taxes and create yet another new social program.

“The governor should be working with the legislature and the White House to find innovative ways to address the state’s financial problems rather than heap more financial misery on residents and businesses,” said DeCroce. ‘Tax hikes are not the solution to everything New Jersey needs to do.”

DeCroce noted that the fuel tax hikes will take effect immediately on the heels of a series of toll hikes that will also hit motorists across New Jersey starting in September.

The gasoline tax finances the state’s Transportation Trust Fund – which pays for infrastructure improvements. Built into the TTF regulations is an automatic tax hike if revenue drops to a certain point. DeCroce says, however, the state should have foreseen the TTF revenue decline coming after the governor closed most businesses in the state and furloughed government workers.

DeCroce says the governor has issued dozens of executive orders to get around state laws and create new regulations and he could have issued another executive order to override the fuel tax hike trigger.

“Someone in the administration had to realize that with businesses closed, most of the state government closed, and people working from home — that fuel consumption would drop and so would fuel tax revenue,” said DeCroce. “The answer to every problem in New Jersey is not to automatically raise taxes.”

DeCroce said that instead of sparring with the White House at every turn, the governor should have been reaching out to President Trump’s team to discuss an increase in federal infrastructure funding.

“The president is a big supporter of infrastructure financing and so am I. New Jersey has some of the worst roads and bridges in the nation that need to be addressed. I am sure the state could have received federal help for infrastructure funding and not hit residents with another tax increase,” said DeCroce.