By: Kyle Thomas
New Jersey is one of the highest spenders when it comes to repairing our own infrastructure. New Jersey is currently allotted a $2.099 billion sum for NJ Transit, which allocates $1.228 billion for state road repairs and $871 million for the Federal Transit program used to repair roads from Superstorm Sandy.
The House has been eager to propose a new program fit to handle some of the most expensive roads in the United States. So what exactly is going to happen to the gas tax?
The answer is not clear yet. Governor Chris Christie proposed a deal which would raise gas 23¢ a gallon, but would gradually decrease the sales tax from 7 percent, to 6 in 2018. The Democrats and Senate have proposed a new deal, saying the New Jersey could not afford to lose the sales tax. But Democrats need to get numbers to be able to stop Christie from signing the initial deal.
New Jersey is currently in a two week road construction stoppage, which makes the Senate majority more hectic than usual, but the new deal proposed by Senate President Stephen Sweeney looks sound. The gas tax remains, but the sales tax levy does exist on the bill. Instead, tax breaks come from across the board.
The most prominent part of the rejected and current bill is the estate tax, but the new proposal disperses it differently. To put it simply, New Jersey collects taxes on estates $675,000 or more for inheritance and death, the lowest in the country. In 2018, we would meet the national average at $5.4 million. The estate tax would no longer exist in 2020.
The proposal also contains tax breaks for various other groups, including retirement pensions tax breaks valuable up to $75,000 per person a year by 2020. The proposal also comes along with a $3,000 income tax exemption for veterans. Sweeney believes all components make a very convincing deal for Gov. Christie, who rejected the last one with claims of ridiculousness toward the State Senate.
The new deal looks as if it can win over Democrats and House GOP’s, but Christie has verbally intended to go with the initial plan. The Senate still can beat the Governor with a veto-proof vote.