I’m a Jersey college student, and the gas tax would hurt me
For college students like me, money is tight. If we are not interning, we’re working low-wage jobs.
I’ve lived in New Jersey my entire life and couldn’t think of another place where I would want to raise my family. But, if the proposed gas tax increase of an estimated 23 cents per gallon is passed, it will hurt not only college students, but everyone who commutes.
According to the NJ MVC, there are close to 7 million licensed drivers in New Jersey. Would this create a lot of revenue for the state? Sure. But, why does New Jersey have to keep taxing us to death?
Granted, I’m very lucky. I still live at home and life is pretty good at the moment. But the costs I'm facing are still real.
I’ll break it down for you:
• 17.5-gallon gas tank at $2 per gallon = $35 per tank
• 450 miles on a full tank
• 400 miles a week
• $140 per month in gas at the current $2-per-gallon price.
• With the new gas tax, it will cost me $39.03 per tank and now $156.10 per month.
• That's $16 more a month because of the gas tax.
This breakdown of the gas tax will obviously be sporadically different for everyone else.
Full disclosure, taxes don’t have much of an effect on my life. Do you want to know what bothers me? That we are already are the third-highest-taxed state and the fourth most expensive state to live in. Now you’re going to throw another gas tax on us?
I don’t know much about government policies and cost of living, but as a common college New Jersey resident, all I care about is how it is going to be a burden on me.
You’re asking me to pay $16 more a month because of gas – that’s all that I see with the gas tax. I don’t see if it alters or lowers the estate tax or inheritance tax. I don’t see if it’ll help the state in the long run. As a common resident, all I see is that it is going to cost me around $5 more each time I fill up.
I attended a press conference run by state Sens. Mike Doherty and Senator Jenn Beck at the State House last week to hear why they oppose the more-than $1 billion tax increase. Even though both are Republicans, there are senators from both parties that are for and against the gas tax. Beck constantly said that it is insane that certain lawmakers believe raising taxes will eventually lower taxes.
"The argument being made is that we should raise taxes to lower taxes. That is the definition of insanity,” Beck said. "As more legislators here from residents, they will be less likely to raise the gas tax."
I won’t lie. I was a little nervous going to the State House for this press conference because it was my first time covering such. And, I’m not sure if it's because they are politicians and know how to speak, but both Senators spoke so simply and made the point as to why the gas tax is bad for this state. It helped me understand even more that not only will it cost more for each driver, but it could very well effect small businesses that already have a tough time surviving in New Jersey.
New Jersey residents have had some recent luck with the gas prices. God forbid we have something cheap in our state.
Do you know what I could do with an extra $16 in my pocket at the end of every month? Besides going out for lunch, I can put that toward my student loans or buy my little brother the new “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book. I could spoil myself and get a haircut. But why would I do that when I can pay into New Jersey taxes?
The point is this: The common resident doesn’t see the long-term goal of this gas tax. They see that they could have around $5 more each time they fill-up their tank. As a college student who wants to raise a family in New Jersey in the near future, I’m begging lawmakers to reject this gas tax and give us a freakin’ break! Give the people who live in the fourth most expensive state and third most-taxed state what they deserve – one opportunity to save money!
Tommy Farrell is a part-time producer and former intern for New Jersey 101.5.
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