By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union, Morris and Somerset) threw down with gas tax hike proponent Assemblyman John Wisniewski during a Wednesday League of Municipalities panel over the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), Save Jerseyans, but the battle continued to be waged with press releases after the event ended.
The best point raised in the exchange? That the whole damn mess, in large part, is Wisniewski’s fault! Or at least he let it happen without raising a single complaint.
“He has had 13 years as head of the Transportation Committee to find a solution to the TTF,” opined Bramnick. “Now that the fund is approaching insolvency, the only idea he can come up with is to raise everyone’s taxes.”
We’ve discussed the details here before. Our state’s Trust Fund saw its annual debt payments increase by more than 56%, from $623 million to $845 million, since 2005, all during Wisniewki’s tenure as chair of the Transportation Committee. By 2011, New Jersey taxpayers were contributing $895 million per year to the Fund only to see it all go to debt on previously issued bonds, not new projects or maintenance.
Where was Wisniewski’s head in 2004? As the wheels were starting to come off?
God only knows; to look back at his comments, you have to wonder what he’s been doing for a decade? “New Jersey is the most congested state in the country, and this presents enormous challenges in terms of constructing transportation policy,” Wisniewski said at the time upon his elevation to deputy speaker. “In addition to the highways that need to be repaved and the bridges that need to be rebuilt, we need to renew our commitment to mass transportation in our state.”
So why didn’t you?
Governors McGreevey, Codey, and Corzine enjoyed Democrat majority legislators with the Wiz in place as transportation chair. What’s the excuse for letting the Fund go belly up?
Answer: there isn’t one. And raising taxes now to pay for over a decade of mismanagement is clearly missing the entire point of how we got to where we are today. “If we limit the conversation to increasing taxes, we will get the same answer Trenton Democrats have repeatedly given us – more taxes,” added Bramnick. “That is why we have higher income taxes, a higher sales tax and higher corporate business taxes. His ideas contribute to residents and businesses fleeing New Jersey.”
Here’s video of Asm. Bramnick’s original comments: