Bateman becomes latest GOP legislator to declare against gas tax hike

By The Staff | The Save Jersey Blog

Kip Bateman
Kip Bateman

Another GOP legislator says he won’t help pass a massive gas tax hike.

“Most reasonable people accept that there is a cost associated with the upkeep, maintenance and expansion of our critical transportation infrastructure,” said Kip Bateman (R-Somerset) on Friday afternoon in a statement obtained by Save Jersey. “What doesn’t seem reasonable, however, is to say that traffic across the state will suddenly grind to a halt if we don’t raise the gas tax by more than 150 percent. There’s a lot of rhetoric and hyperbole, but little real discussion about why the proposed tax increase is necessary.”

The current proposal crafted by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto would result in a 23-cent per gall gas tax increase, generating $1.2 billion in new revenues which, coupled with new borrowing, would fund $2 billion in Transportation Trust Fund program spending.

Governor Chris Christie has said the new attempt at a compromise is “dead on arrival” at his desk.

New analysis of the original Senate plan found it would result in a minimum net tax increase between $3.7B and $4.5B and $1.5 billion in annual bonding.

Bateman’s comments come after a Friday move by Senate Democrats on the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee to block an attempt by Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) to remove the gas tax hike and replace it with a multi-prong alternative which would have included the phasing-out of the estate tax and creating a gas tax deduction.