So Corzine Wants To Raise The Gas Tax - We Agree
But, it was an election year and the folks in Trenton weren’t about to put themselves in jeopardy with a vote to raise the tax and so nothing was done about the depleted Transportation Trust Fund.
The gas tax issue came up during the Governor’s race with Jon Corzine being for and against raising the tax depending upon the group he was addressing at the time. New Jersey Conservative remembers Corzine’s pandering well. In October our Governor-elect came out with his final pre-election position.
Corzine said flatly: "There will be no gas tax hike in a Corzine administration, particularly after we've seen a $1.50 rise in the price of gasoline. I'm proposing we have a tax holiday."So much for a holiday without any gas tax - Corzine is now considering raising the tax to replenish the state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund. Roberto says Corzine is re-writing history and Lawhawk has the negative reaction from around the blogosphere to - Corzine ends his vow to leave gas tax alone.
In September we wrote that our representatives would rediscover the need to raise the tax once safely elected:
However, our representatives in Trenton punted and now legislators aim to take up the matter during a "lame duck” session in November or December. Once safely elected, the State Assembly will be back to business as usual, spending with abandon and raising taxes.Okay, we were off by a month on the introduction of legislation to increase the gas tax but, we had the spending with abandon part nailed.
Senate Majority Leader Bernard Kenny (D-Hudson) said yesterday he will introduce a bill to do that [raise the gas tax] in the new legislative session that begins next month.Staring down the barrel of a $6 billion budget deficit next year does not give the big spenders in Trenton pause. And why should it? They were re-elected with a record of spending the state right into the ground. While nearly every state is experiencing record budget surpluses, in large part due to the Bush tax cuts and the resulting booming economy, New Jersey’s broke.
Lawmakers, meanwhile, continue to add new spending to the current year's budget, which itself is beset by revenue shortfalls and spending overruns. Recent projections indicate most of the $600 million surplus that was included in the current budget will be used up.
But we digress, back to the depleted Transportation Trust Fund and the gas tax. While we agree Jon Corzine should have been honest about his inevitable plans to raise the gas tax, it was always a done deal and we are not the least bit surprised. Back on September 6 we wrote:
So rather than debate a raise in the state’s gas tax, a done deal before either candidate can become governor, Forrester and Corzine should debate plans for limiting the use of gas tax revenue to roads, brides and mass transit.That's the real issue - using tax revenue for which it was intended and not blowing funds on nice to have's or do's the state can't afford and that shouldn't be funded in the first place.
The fact the lame-duck legislature is not planning to pass a gas tax increase now, giving the Governor-elect cover, is worrisome. We can only conclude a significant increase in the gas tax will be coupled with a significant increase in other taxes targeted at the so called wealthy. Since the gas tax impacts everyone, Democrats typically think it goes down better if they can show they are really sticking it to the rich, no matter the disastrous effect the tactic would have on the state’s economy.
As for us, we’ve been consistent from the beginning when we wrote last February, The Gas Tax Is A Fair Tax – Raise It If You Must:
Building and maintaining public infrastructure such as highways, bridges and transit we believe to be a legitimate role of government. We also believe taxing people in a manner that maintains a direct relationship between the amount of public services used by the individual and the taxes they pay, is a fair system. The more gas used and miles driven the more a person will pay. What system could be more fair?