TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie says he's not thrilled about raising the state's gas tax by 23 cents, but says that he will sign the plan if it is approved.
Christie spoke Wednesday after the Democrat-led Assembly passed legislation raising the gas tax to 37.5 cents a gallon from 14.5 cents and cutting the sales tax from 7 percent to 6 percent.
This would be the first tax increase that the governor has implemented during his two terms. He says that he will only support it if the sales tax cut is also approved.
At a news conference, Christie addressed New Jersey residents’ concerns over the increase.
“Of course they don't want to pay more, but also they don't want to be driving in potholes, they don't want bridges to have problems and all the rest,” he says.
The governor says that the decreased sales tax will save the average New Jersey household $425 a year.
However, state Senate Democrats say that the state depends on sales tax revenue and cutting it would mean a disaster for New Jersey. They say that it would leave a $1.7 billion gap in the state’s budget.
“We all know we need the 23 cents gas tax. We need to re-fund the transportation trust fund, but we can't do it by destroying the state,” says Sen. Loretta Weinberg.
Sen. Weinberg says that Christie’s gas tax plan had “no chance” of passing in the Senate, and says that the governor is acting like “an adolescent.” The Senate is expected to vote on the gas tax plan Thursday.
The deadline to renew the transportation trust fund expires Thursday. Some road projects have already been halted due to the lack of money.
Some lawmakers are talking about coming back to Trenton in July if they can't get that gas tax hike passed.