Vocal majority in New Jersey says ‘no’ to gas tax hike

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Some New Jersey legislative leaders have said a gas tax hike is needed to finance road and mass transit improvements, but a new Quinnipiac University poll finds the majority of Garden State residents are against it.

Pollster Maurice Carroll says 62 percent of Garden State voters surveyed oppose increasing the gasoline tax.

“Voters don’t like taxes of any sort. You’ll almost find in any poll, ask about a tax, people say no,” he said. “Even if they know we’ve got to do something about the Transportation Trust Fund, they’re still not going to say, ‘Yeah, jack up our taxes.'”

And voters don’t want a increase in the gas tax to be tied to reducing the state’s inheritance tax, as some legislators have suggested as a bipartisan compromise.

“Gasoline tax? No. Death tax? Yeah, OK. But if you make it part of the gasoline tax deal, then they’re against it 56-to-33,” he said.

Even though a gas tax hike would be unpopular, Carroll said this might be the time for lawmakers to act.

“This is one of those times when the politicians are going to do something that they know is unpopular, but they look at the calendar and they realize they don’t have to worry about voters until 2017,” he said. “It’s a long way off, give them time to forget it … and we could even do something nice in between.”

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