Taxman Murphy keeps gas tax, screws NJ (Opinion)
From the headline my opinion is obvious. What Governor Murphy just announced as his reason for keeping the gas tax hike intact after announcing plans for hiking the sales tax is weak and shameful.
Let me back up.
When the gas tax was raised by 23 cents per gallon in 2016 Governor Christie sold it as "tax fairness" by lowering things like the state sales tax. Of course the lowest the sales tax got under the law was 6.625% which certainly didn't offset the amount your average family was losing under the deal. Still it was something, no matter how small. What most people didn't know was that when the law passed that hiked our gas tax it came with a so-called poison pill. Meaning if other provisions such as the reduction in state sales tax should be taken back, then the gas tax hike had to be taken back too.
Now that Governor Taxman Murphy wants the sales tax all the way back to 7% that means the 23 cents per gallon increase needs to go away, right? Yes, but no. In order to legally trigger that so-called poison pill it requires a three member panel to vote it activated. Made up of the state treasurer, the head of Office of Legislative Services and a third person they would mutually appoint. The problem is Elizabeth Maher Muoio is a Murphy appointee and won't do the right thing and vote to put the poison pill into play. Which is at odds with Frank Haines of the OLS who says he most definitely would trigger that provision. And since a third person has to be mutually appointed and they are at odds, it will remain a stalemate.
Our horrendous governor said he has, "No plan to lower the gas tax. The sales tax was reduced as a gimmick, just so that he (Christie) could say that he didn't raise taxes in the aggregate. It wasn't reduced for any good public policy reason."
That's it. That's his excuse. Because he didn't agree with it. Never mind that the law was clear; touch and change any part of the decreases and the increases would revert back too. Murphy is relying on bureaucratic gamesmanship and his own arrogance to justify not following the law. If all it takes is calling anything a gimmick to decide it's a law he doesn't have to follow, where can that lead?
State Sen. Declan O'Scanlon is livid, saying, "Every single Democrat who voted for that deal then knew what was in that deal. There is a poison pill in it. It says if you're going to break your word and increase any of these taxes again, the gas tax goes away."
Not even 100 days in office and Taxman Murphy is already showing he feels his objectives are above the law. In my opinion, this is only the beginning. Things will get worse. We all knew the lowering of the sales tax was nothing more than a small bone being thrown our way buy a governor who didn't want to be known as a guy who raised taxes by over a billion dollars. We get it. But we also know a deal is a deal.
Unless it's a deal in New Jersey.
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