Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Senate President Steve Sweeney have said they were confident they had the votes for the deal to pass.
Lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly were scheduled to vote Wednesday on legislation to implement the deal reached last week by Gov. Chris Christie and the leaders of the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
If enacted, New Jersey's gas tax would still remain lower than neighboring NY and Pennsylvania. Although I agree the supposed offsetting tax cuts are misguided, any tax cut is preferred even if it will not offset the proposed gas tax for the average resident. With "Yes" votes likely to be political poison for those without comfortable chances at reelection, the vote also marks the first tax increase that Christie has lent his support to in his two terms as governor. While the gas tax increase was long overdue, he said in a statement, the companion tax cuts will lead to higher college costs, less property tax relief and higher transit fares for future generations.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority will collect an estimated $1.8 billion in tolls from drivers this year, up 4.3 percent from the previous period, more than any other toll facility in the nation.
The deal would establish a $2 billion-a-year transportation trust fund over eight years.
Do you have community news or events? I know we have to increase the gasoline tax.
"It's a 23-cent overnight increase which will not only increase the price of gas, but all goods and services that require transportation will increase significantly", he added.
Retirees will pay less in taxes on their retirement income, by increasing the New Jersey gross income tax exclusion on pension and retirement income over four years to $100,000 for joint filers, $75,000 for individuals and $50,000 for married/filing separately.
"They wanted to get this vote done before the public was aware of what was going on", said Sen. The fund now will grow from $1.6 billion to $2 billion a year.
Because of the procedural obstacle, lawmakers from both chambers are expected to convene Friday for the final votes.
"I am pleased to present a plan that represents tax fairness for the residents of New Jersey", Christie says.
But plans to pass the hike on Wednesday were scrapped when the legislature's leadership realized it didn't have the three-quarters majority they needed for an "emergency" vote. Lawmakers approved a package that slashes about as much revenue as it raises while shifting taxes from the state's wealthiest individuals to lower-income families.
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