BY Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2 | MonroeNow | Aug 31, 2018
New Jersey’s tax on gas will climb 4.3 cents a gallon this fall as a result of a bipartisan bill approved in 2016 to help replenish the Transportation Trust Fund.
The new rate, 41.4 cents-per gallon, goes into effect on Oct. 1.
The increase was triggered by a section in the bipartisan bill that requires the gas tax to generate $2 billion a year in revenue for the Transportation Trust Fund.
To raise the gas tax to meet the law’s requirement, the treasurer and legislative officials review the tax to determine how much is needed to reach the figure. This year that will result in the 4.3-cent hike.
The Governor Murphy administrated attempted to shift the blame to his predecessor, Gov. Chris Christie saying he failed to raise the rate after overestimating fuel consumption last year. The administration claims that had Christie raised the rate, which they say should have been 1.7 cents, this year’s increase would have been 2.6 cents.
“The law enacted in 2016 contains a specific formula to ensure that revenue is meeting a certain target,” said state Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio in a statement on Thursday. “Unfortunately, because the Christie overestimated gas consumption rates last year, the tax rate has to be increased by nearly two cents more this year in order for us to meet our obligation under the statute and fully fund the state’s many pressing transportation infrastructure needs.”
According to the 2016 law, the gas tax is required to raise $16 billion over eight years — approximately $2 billion per year in order to support projects funded through the Transportation Trust Fund.
But the planned Oct. 1 hike has received the ire of some lawmakers who are pledging change.
“This is outrageous. I was against the #GasTax from the state,” said state Sen. Kip Bateman, R-16, which represents portions of Middlesex County, in a Twitter post. “Now I’ll continue that fight by introducing a bill to repeal the provision in the law that allows the treasury dept. to automatically raise the gas tax every year. Enough is enough. Taxpayers are not NJ’s piggy bank!”
According to an Associated Press report, this is the second time the gas tax has been increased since 2016, which previously was 14.6 cents per gallon prior to the change.
The new rate, the report says, means New Jersey will have the fifth-largest per gallon tax in the nation, up from the eighth spot, but still lower than neighbors New York and Pennsylvania.