In the middle of the night, while most of us were sleeping, the governor and the Assembly concocted a plan to raise your taxes. Oh, they'll tell you it's fair, trading a 1 percent reduction in the sales tax to balance a 23 cent per gallon hike in the gas tax. A couple of problems here.

First, the gas tax will take effect immediately — as soon as Friday.  The sales tax reduction will be gradual, over 18 months, with no guarantee that it happens at all when a new governor is sworn in after the 2017 election.

Bill Spadea

The second problem, the revenue lost in the sales tax reduction equals somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion. That's revenue in the general fund, which has historically increased. So you can count on it and budget for it. The gas tax, on the other side, projected at $1.3 billion, has historically been decreasing so the projection is generous at best.

Third, despite the scare tactics, the money is not dedicated to our roads and bridges through the Transportation Trust Fund — much of it would be used for several new rail projects and filling budget holes with NJ Transit.

How about instead of raising taxes on middle and working class New Jerseyans, we simply dedicate 1 percent of the sales tax and the surplus revenue form the Turnpike authority toward the costs of roads?

Despite some exceptions, the vote on the gas tax hike bill went along the party lines with a 53-23 vote with the majority of Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. Here are the names of both the Democrats who opposed and the Republicans who voted for it.

  • Democrats who voted no: Bob Andrzejczak, Joann Downey, Eric Houghtaling, Bruce Land, Vince Mazzeo, John Wisniewski, Andrew Zwicker
  • Republicans who voted yes: Jon Bramnick, Chris Brown, Rob Clifton, BettyLou DeCroce, Joe Howarth, Sean Kean, Nancy Munoz, David Rible, Maria Rodriguez-Gregg, Scott Rumana

Four lawmakers didn't vote: Declan O'Scanlon, Brian Rumpf, Adam Taliaferro and Cleopatra Tucker.

While many NJ residents may feel defeated by this overnight development, there is one New Jersey legislator who can still stop this. State Sen. President Steve Sweeney can stop the gas tax from happening. Sweeney has the power to not post this bill.
If Sweeney really has aspirations of running for governor, then he needs to listen to the people and say no to the gas tax! Stand up for the working men and women and do not post this bill!

Here's how we stop the madness. Call Sen President Steve Sweeney, and join me in the message I've been spreading for months: ##NoGasTax. Tell him NO to the proposed 23 cents per gallon gas tax hike.

Senate Majority Office: 609-847-3700
West Deptford office - 856-251-9801
Salem office - 856-339-080
Senate President Sweeney's Twitter: @NJSenatePres
Senate President Sweeney on Facebook

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