And the win goes to… you! Because of your attention to the tricks and political games in Trenton, together we put a stop to two things today that could have had disastrous effects on life in the Garden State. The first was the gas tax… the legislature wanted to raise it $0.23 per gallon with a built in increase should the projected revenue fall below expectations. As we’ve discussed on Chasing News, NJ 101.5 and on social media, it’s because of your constant phone calls, emails and tweets that the GOP legislators on the fence thought twice about voting for a new tax and the Democrats on the fence found cover that helped firm up their opposition.
Senator Tom Kean joined me in studio today and was happy to congratulate us on keeping the gas tax at bay as well as defeating the second legislative initiative that would be crushing to New Jersey. The public pension constitutional guarantee. If this bill passed the Senate after already passing the Democratic controlled Assembly it would’ve been on the ballot in November. Since most ballot questions get approved, we’d be looking at a guaranteed payment to an antiquated pension system that would’ve taken priority over all other spending, that’s right, hospitals, first responders, programs to help the disabled, etc. Even Steve Sweeney realized that without a new gas tax generating new revenue, it was a financially crippling proposition. Truthfully, it’s irresponsible with or without a new tax. And now enough legislators agree with us which prevented the voting session from even taking place on Monday.
All the while, the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority is going to approve a bond for a billion dollars in a
taxpayer subsidy for the company developing the Meadowlands American Dream project. It’s unclear what economics and math classes our legislators completed when there isn’t enough money to fix roads and bridges or fund the pensions, but we can giveaway tax dollars to the big corporations.
The bottom line is that Trenton needs new leadership and it’s time for reasonable adults in Trenton to realize that the problem is one of priorities and accountability. Even Senator Lesniak, who rarely meets a tax he doesn’t like, agrees that the fact that we have no accountability on road construction makes it difficult to get behind new spending.
The pension bill is dead for now…at least until 2017. And the gas tax is dead for, well… today. More to come as we fight daily to make New Jersey affordable for the working and middle class family that are the core of the Garden State.