The Gas Tax Hike Cometh

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Gas pumpAs recently as March, Save Jerseyans, Governor Chris Christie said gas tax hikes were off the table.

He strongly opposed a proposal from Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-20, Union) earlier in the year which would’ve raised the gas tax by 15 cents over 3 years.

But I warned you earlier this week how the pending confirmation of Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner-designate Jamie Fox could signal a change in thinking, or at least tactics.

I take no pleasure in being right. Trust me. I’ll be paying right along side you at the next pump. So enjoy our run of cheap gas (which is attracting drivers to NJ… when does that ever happen?) while it lasts…

According to multiple reports, a bipartisan agreement to raise the gas tax between 15 cents and 20 cents or, alternatively, hike the petroleum products gross receipts tax (paid by refineries and distributors) is moving forward behind closed doors. Or some combination of the two. Whatever. Fox, who presumably discussed these issues with Gov. Christie’s team at length, is echoing his support of a gas tax back during the McGreevey Administration by declaring “[n]othing is off the table.”

It damn well should be!

Believe it or not, New Jerseyans enjoy the third lowest gas tax in the United States. A 15 cent tax would’ve added, on average, $230 to the cost of driving every New Jersey car each year. This is on top of Parkway and Turnpike tolls doubling since 2008. At what point does flying or driving (or swimming) around New Jersey make more sense than paying out the rear end to drive through it?

There are other options. This “raises taxes or bust” ridiculousness is calculated but it isn’t logical.

Again, as we’ve discussed before at great length, fixing the Transportation Fund is a matter of reassessing priorities, Save Jerseyans, not raising the ONLY New Jersey tax that’s actually not miserably high and, in so doing, driving more individual taxpayers and taxpaying businesses out of New Jersey. That strategy serves only to exacerbate the problem that a gas tax hike endeavors to address, and when the time came to reassess priorities (like the role of PLA’s and the prevailing wage in driving highest-in-the-nation road construction and maintenance costs), the geniuses in Trenton punted… by borrowing. A practice which continues today.

It’s the reason why we’re in this mess. What mess? We’re one of the nation’s wealthiest per capita states, at least on paper, yet we somehow have no ability to pay for our bustling highways and byways without more taxing and borrowing. Or so we’re told.

Don’t buy it for a moment. New Jersey motorists need to raise our voices against any increases NOW, not when the deal is already struck, if it is, and we learn it’s readied for quick passage. Speak up. Loudly.


Matt Rooney
About Matt Rooney 8533 Articles
MATT ROONEY is's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.


  1. Well, we COULD offset an increase by increasing wages in order to keep up with overall cost of living, but I know how much you all hate that idea.

    It would also probably help if red states weren’t so hapless and dependent on federal money and a drain on blue states like New Jersey, which only gets $.88 back on every dollar we send to Washington.

  2. The gas tax won’t do a damn thing except put more money into the state coffers. We are over $900 million in debt form previous years of borrowing, bonds etc. How much of that money will go towards paying off old debt, repairs and new construction?

    It won’t any new tax levied it will never be enough. It is just a matter of time before it surpasses the 15 cents.

    Unless funding is dedicated to what it is specifically meant for . . . another game of thimblerig will begin.

  3. Christie: Flip-Flop!

    Here’s an idea… How about finding out why it costs NJ exponentially more to do construction work in NJ than most of the rest of America and fixing THAT problem?

  4. “Well, we COULD offset an increase by increasing wages in order to keep up with overall cost of living, but I know how much you all hate that idea. ”

    Well, sure, because it doesn’t work. When you raise wages, prices increase because the cost of labor has increased. When prices increase, the cost of living increases. It’s a vicious cycle you can never solve, Justin.

  5. We pay far too much in taxes in NJ already. NO tax increases. Start cutting taxes. We don’t need a gas tax increase. We need to stop wasting money narrowing roads and putting in speed bumps to slow down traffic in the name of “traffic calming”

  6. What are you talking about, like him or not the governor has repeatedly held to not raising the gas or any other tax. It’s the Democrats that have been pushing this. They’ve been going bonkers ever since they found out that this one got by them.

  7. Get rid of that asshole in the governor’s chair. .. (oh that’s right. .. he’s running around the country and is hardly ever here)

  8. I agree with Jeff Goldstein when he says, “We pay far too much in taxes in NJ already”. Enough is Enough! Let us keep some of our disposable income so we the tax payer can stimulate the ecomy!

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