New Jersey Senate approves 23-cent increase in gas tax

The New Jersey Senate has voted to approve a 23-cent-per-gallon hike in the gas tax.

Passing the agreement means the Garden State's gas tax would climb from 14.5 cents to 37.5 cents per gallon, still lower than neighboring NY and Pennsylvania but higher than Alaska, which at 12.25 cents a call has the lowest gas tax in the country.

In exchange for the higher gas tax, the bills reduce the sales tax rate in phases and eliminate the estate tax, which now applies to estates valued over $675,000.

The Democratic-led Legislature scheduled a Friday vote for the increase as part of an agreement between legislative leaders and the Republican governor. Its tax remains lower than in Pennsylvania and NY. They announced the deal together at a news conference last week. The previous annual outlay of $1.6 billion, when adjusted for inflation, comes out to $1.98 billion today. In early July, Christie halted all but the most essential projects paid for with the state's Transportation Trust Fund, including $2.7 billion of NJ Transit projects. Christie had said he would only support a plan that represented "tax fairness", or cutting other taxes if the gas tax was going to increase.

Radio host Bill Spadea of NJ101.5 FM has dedicated his morning drive-time program to defeating the gas tax and pressuring lawmakers to vote against it.

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