By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
When it comes to replenishing New Jersey’s troubled Transportation Trust Fund, Save Jerseyans, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) is apparently hoping that a compromise-oriented position helps his party in the November legislative elections.
“I’m in the same position as the governor; everything thing is on the table. If you didn’t have that position I’m not sure that you could get anything done,” Bramnick told NJ 101.5 on Wednesday morning when asked if increasing the gas tax should be part of suspended negotiations.
And he’s not wrong about that last part.
Yes, there isn’t going to be a resolution to the TTF debate pre-Election 2015 without the GOP governor signing off on “new revenues” (tax hikes), a position supported by Chris Christie’s Democrat transportation chief but shelved, at least temporarily, since raising taxes during a presidential campaign built on not raising taxes would look… well, it would look absolutely ridiculous. Right?
Assemblyman Bramnick’s in a tough spot because he needs to juggle the well-being of his caucus and the influence of the administration but we should recall how, back in May, a Michigan gas tax hike ballot question which failed when 80% of that blue state’s residents voted it down. EIGHTY percent, folks. Presented with a clear choice between financial recklessness and fiscal discipline, the voters in a state that hasn’t voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988 (!) resoundingly chose the latter.
There’s no reason to believe New Jersey voters would be any less amenable to a contrast to the status quo. They trusted Chris Christie with two terms in expectation that he would be different. They’re NOT voting for reasonableness. If they were, how do you explain who is there now??? Democrats won’t put spending cuts on the table…
What’s certain: taxpayers instinctively gravitate towards bold colors over pale pastels nearly every single time they’re given the option.
“Bold” is the key word. It’s not enough to simply oppose a gas hike. We need a plan. A distinguishing vision. One idea: Our friend Bill Spadea of Chasing/NJ 101.5 fame shared a guest post here calling for a gas tax DECREASE and laying out how to do it.
I’d much rather negotiate from a position of strength, with a handful of new fiscally-conservative Republican legislators in Trenton, then with the current deadbeat body. Bramnick’s right; nothing is getting done anytime soon anyway! So why should Republicans water-down our position when there’s nothing to gain?