Washington insider Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, praised New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s gas tax increase in New Jersey in 2016, a year before he claimed Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase proposal here in Tennessee is “Taxpayer Protection Pledge compliant.”
In the letter he sent to Tennessee state legislators on Monday in which he expressed support for the amended version of Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase that passed the Senate Transportation Committee last week, Norquist also sang the praises of Christie’s earlier gas tax increase in the Garden State.
“In New Jersey last year, Americans for Tax Reform supported a tax package enacted by Gov. Christie that raised the gas tax from 14.5 to 23 cents per gallon, but coupled that with a phase out of his state’s death tax, a reduction in the sales tax from 7 to 6.6%, and an increase in the earned income tax credit,” Norquist wrote.
“The package, like SB 1221/HB534 was a net tax cut overall. As such, not only did ATR not oppose the deal, ATR urged lawmakers to support it,” he added.
“Republican Gov. Chris Christie and the Democratic-controlled Legislature agreed to the hike because the state had run out of cash to pay for transportation projects,” the New York Daily News reported on October 30, 2016.
“The 23-cent jump is the first increase in New Jersey’s gas tax since 1988. It had the second lowest fuel tax in the nation after Alaska, but will now have the sixth-highest,” the News reported.
But conservatives in New Jersey blasted the gas tax increase, and warned that more tax increases were on the way.
“New Jersey Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-Cream Ridge, is expressing shock and outrage over an accompanying tax hike on diesel fuel he says will dramatically increase prices across the board for all consumers,” New Jersey 101.5 reported in November.
“Right now the diesel fuel for truckers is 17 and a half cents. On Jan. 1, Happy New Year, the tax doubles,” Dancer told 101.5.
“On July 1 there will be another increase in the diesel fuel tax . . . The (tax) will be for the diesel fuel at that time, 46 and a half cents a gallon, compared to the 17 and a half cents that it is right now,” he added.
“The trucking industry is going to pass on that cost to every consumer that purchases goods in the state of New Jersey . . . Every product you purchase, at one point in time, is on a truck and every product therefore will significantly have a price increase,” he noted.
“Dancer said he and others [in the New Jersey State Legislature] didn’t realize how significant this was going to be until recently,” 101.5 reported.
“Until we looked at the bill closely, I was not aware initially — everybody thought this was a 23 cent gas tax. . . This is as large of a tax increase as we’ve ever had in the state of New Jersey. It affects everything. Nothing is excluded,” Dancer told 101.5.
“I think the taxpayers have hit bottom, I mean I just don’t know where the taxing is going to stop,” the New Jersey Republican Assemblyman concluded.