"This deal is getting worse all the time."

Remember The Empire Strikes Back? How could you forget? A story about the resurgence of an overbearing, unrepresentative, oppressive government has to resonate with residents of the Garden State.

Lando Calrissian strikes a deal with Darth Vader to protect Cloud City from Empire interference. But Vader keeps changing the terms. Vader refuses to leave Chewbacca and Leia under his supervision. He makes Lando turn Han Solo over to Boba Fett. The deal, as Lando says, gets worse all the time.

I'm beginning to know how Lando felt.

Earlier this month, I invited Republican State Sen. Steven Oroho into the New Jersey 101.5 studio to try and convince me his plan to raise New Jersey's gas tax by about 23 cents was necessary. To say I was unconvinced would be an understatement. I've been pushing #NoGasTax on Twitter for a reason.

But as least I thought I knew what sort of tax increase we were talking about. Now that Oroho's proposal has actually been introduced, it's so much worse than we thought.

We've already got a 14.5 cent tax per gallon on gas. That wouldn't go away. Instead, we'd add a tax of 12.5 percent to the wholesale price of gas, up to $3.

Let's do the math on that — that's as much as 37.5 cents per gallon more than we pay now, for a stunning 52-cent gas tax if the wholesale price hits $3, like it did after Hurricane Katrina. We'd go from 14.5 cents to 52. That's insane. That's more than $5 tax for filling up a tiny 10-gallon tank.

Oroho says we'd save on other taxes — that without the gas tax hike, our other taxes would get worse.

Would you trust this guy?

I wouldn't. Darth Oroho wants our princess, he wants our smuggler, he wants our wookie and he wants our 52 cents.

It's enough to make you join a rebellion. So, you know what? Let's rebel.

I want you to CALL Sen. Steve Oroho today. We've been flooding the lines and they've been busy — but we've gotten through at 908-441-6343. Hit 1, 0 and #, and you'll get to a person.

That's his Allamuchy office. If you still don't get through, try him in Sparta at 973-300-0200

Let Oroho and his staff know we're not going to stand for any new taxes until they tell us:

  • What's the cost for the roads in New Jersey? No one can agree on numbers, but you'd be amazed how high they can go, especially the current reconstruction of Route 35, which has topped a whopping $27.3 million per mile.
  • Why is this money not already dedicated to our roads?
  • What are you going to do to cut the state's grotesque, Jabba-like appetite for spending?

Change the spending. Introduce some accountability. Forget balance to the Force — bring balance to our budget. Then we'll talk.