Some small-business owners in New Jersey are urging the Legislature not to go along with a call by some Republican lawmakers to tie a potential increase in the gas tax to eliminating the state’s inheritance and estate taxes.
Kelly Conklin, who owns an architectural woodworking company in Kenilworth, supports raising the gas tax to maintain the transportation infrastructure and improve public transportation. But he opposes cutting the inheritance or estate tax.
“It doesn’t make any sense to me to give an enormous tax break to the wealthiest residents of New Jersey,” Conklin said Wednesday. “I work for some of the wealthiest people in the world, and I can tell you right now they can’t spend it fast enough.”
While many lawmakers believe the estate tax should be eliminated, said Senate Budget Committee chairman Paul Sarlo, that issue should be considered separately from a gas tax hike to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund.
“We need to first come up with a plan on the TTF,” said Sarlo, D-Bergen. “If it is necessary and it needs the political support, the estate tax could be joined, but let’s not write them in the same piece of legislation.”
The coalition of small-business owners wants to see an increase in the earned income tax credit if lawmakers hike the state’s gas tax, according to the New Jersey Main Street Alliance.
“This would help offset the cost of a gas tax increase for low- to moderate-income families, and we’re going to be issuing a letter to the state Legislature urging this course of action instead of cutting the estate or inheritance tax,” said Jerome Montes, a member of the alliance.