Coalition: NJ Lawmakers Must Consider Tax Hikes [AUDIO]
If New Jersey is going to invest in its most important priorities, the legislature should pass its own budget, and it should include revenue raisers according to Better Choices for New Jersey, a coalition of business groups, environmentalists and labor leaders.
"I don't believe that throwing out the idea of more revenues or tax increases is treasonous," said Gordon MacInnes, president of New Jersey Policy Perspective and a member of the coalition. "There's a connection between an increase in the gas tax of some kind and improving the (transportation) infrastructure and that's an understood connection."
In addition to hiking the gas tax, the group also supports the idea of increasing the income tax rates on millionaires. Members of the coalition said the extra revenue could be used to invest in education, transportation, the environment and the middle class.
"Our millionaires are enjoying their fifth straight year of tax breaks (and) our gas tax is one of the lowest in the country," said Analilia Mejia, executive director of New Jersey Working Families Alliance, which heads the Better Choices for New Jersey campaign. "Legislators do not have to accept the budget proposals put before them. They are not a done deal. They do not have to accept Gov. (Chris) Christie's tired refrain that the state lacks the resources to meet its needs."
If the state rejoined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative it would also receive $600 million according to the group, which also said taking away some corporate business tax breaks would generate millions.
"We have called for the millionaires' tax as one of the best revenue raisers that we see out there," said Dena Mottola Jaborska, director of advocacy and organizing at New Jersey Citizen Action.
The governor has repeatedly and consistently vowed not to raise to taxes.