New Jerseyeans: Don’t Raise Gas Tax

By John Celock

Considerations being given by New Jersey leaders to raising the state’s gas tax are being rejected by voters in a new survey.

A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Tuesday indicates that 57 percent of those surveyed do not want lawmakers to raise the gas tax. Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Democratic legislative leaders have been discussing raising the gas tax in an effort to replenish the state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund. The gas tax debate has been on lawmaker’s plates for a year now.

The poll showed that only 37 percent of those surveyed favored the gas tax hike in an effort to direct more funds to the transportation fund. When told the hike could cost them $180 more annually at the pump, the survey found that 66 percent opposed a gas tax hike.

Thirty one percent of those surveyed indicated they would be receptive to a gas tax hike if there were a cut in estate taxes, a measure being backed by Christie. Forty four percent said they would still oppose the gas tax.

A potential gas tax hike has been debated in New Jersey political circles in recent years as Christie and lawmakers seek to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund, which funds work on roads statewide. The fund has been depleted in recent years as lawmakers have tapped the fund to cover non-transportation costs in the state budget.

Christie has resisted a gas tax hike proposed by lawmakers in an effort to focus his run for president on a tax cutting image.