As Gov. Chris Christie refused to support the latest plan to replenish New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund, a top Republican lawmaker is calling for a renewed effort to end the stalemate that’s shut down millions of dollars of transportation construction projects.
The proposal from Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto to raise the gas tax by 23 cents a gallon while phasing out the estate tax and cutting other taxes is dead on arrival because it does not represent tax fairness, Christie said.
Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick warned the GOP will not support an override if the legislature passes the plan and Christie vetoes it.
“It’s DOA in terms of any type of override. As a Republican, what I’ve tried to do is fight for tax reductions while the Democrats fought for tax increases,” said Bramnick, R-Union. “And I’m going to continue to do that, and that’s why it’s not going to pass.”
Bramnick is urging legislative leaders to meet with the governor and work out a new deal for the fund that finances road and bridge repairs and maintenance, as well as transportation projects throughout the state.
“It’s time to get back to the table and not leave the Statehouse until we get a deal. But to have separate press conferences and separate releases and the Prieto-Sweeney deal, that’s not how we’re supposed to do business. Let’s all get down there and stay there until we fix it.”
Bramnick said he is hoping for a compromise, but he isn’t worried that idled construction workers could put pressure on lawmakers.
“I’m concerned about people out of work. I’m not concerned about pressure,” he said. “I’m concerned about families and people not having jobs, and that’s why I want to get to the Statehouse and let’s all sit there with the governor until we come up with a compromise.”