Gas tax hike looks more likely in New Jersey

 New Jersey Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo believes he has enough support for a hike in the state gas tax. (AP file photo)

New Jersey Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo believes he has enough support for a hike in the state gas tax. (AP file photo)

Agreement could be near on a plan to increase New Jersey’s gas tax for the first time since 1988.

 

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo said Tuesday he has enough support in the Senate for the measures to raise the gas tax, phase out the estate tax, and increase the exemption cap on retirement income.

“We’re willing to put that package on the table. We need a signal from the governor that he’s willing to sign it,” said Sarlo, D-Bergen. “We could do it tomorrow, we could do it next week, but he’s got to be willing to sign it.”

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick isn’t sure if Republican lawmakers will support the proposal.

“The devil is always in the details because what’s the gas tax increase going to be? What is the phase in of the estate inheritance reduction? What are we really talking about?” he said. “So it’s on the right track, but no one is going to tell you whether you have the votes for it. We haven’t even seen the bill.”

Bramnick, R-Union, said he doesn’t believe the plan would be revenue neutral.

“I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t think in the long term it would generate income and consequently benefit jobs, growth, and revenue in the state of course,” he said. “Short term, I don’t think it’s going to be dollar for dollar.”

The gas tax hike would help replenish the nearly empty Transportation Trust Fund.

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