Christie: ‘Death tax’ must phase out faster before considering gas tax hike
Gov. Chris Christie says a five-year phase-out of the estate tax, as envisioned as part of a bargain regarding a gas-tax hike for the Transportation Trust Fund, is “much too long.”
“The current bill that they have on estate tax phase-out is too long, to wait five years to phase out the estate tax,” Christie said on New Jersey 101.5’s "Ask the Governor."
“I’m talking about tax fairness in this state, and we have to get to a place of tax fairness.”
Democratic Sen. Paul Sarlo this week suggested reducing the estate tax, cutting income taxes on retirement income and allowing a tax deduction for charitable contributions in exchange for a hike in the gas tax to pay for a $2 billion a year transportation construction program.
Christie said he doesn’t prefer to raise the gas tax but reiterated he is willing to listen.
“Am I going to raise the gas tax? I’ve said all along that I’m willing to discuss anything with the Democrats, but that there has to be tax fairness,” Christie said.
Christie said Democrats need to put forth a detailed plan on the gas tax, not him.
“They want me to negotiate against myself. I’m not that stupid. They want to raise the gas tax. Not me. The Democrats in the Lesgislature want to raise the gas tax. They want to raise the gas tax? Tell us how much and get 41 votes for it in the Assembly,” Christie said.
He said he has reached compromises with Democrats on big issues before.
“I have a history of being willing to do this, but they’ve got to lead,” Christie said.
Christie told a caller who opposed a gas-tax increase and suggested alternatives that the state doesn't spend $2 million a mile for roads, as a Reason Foundation study says, and that the idea of eliminating project labor agreements that apply to road projects won't get anywhere so long as Senate President Stephen Sweeney is a legislative leader.
“Let’s talk practical for a second, Greg," Christie said. "With the Senate president being a building-trades guy, the idea that you’re going to get rid of project labor agreements or prevailing wage in the state – it’s just not going to happen with Steve Sweeney as Senate president.”