There’s a lot of posturing and hand-wringing in Trenton these days about an increase in the state gasoline tax. Progressive Democrats want an increase similar to that in other states in order to fund the repair of our crumbling infrastructure. Republicans are loathe to raise these much-needed funds without a corresponding tax break for the wealthy.
Few disagree that New Jerseyans pay high taxes. But living in a high cost of living region with many social, infrastructure, and environmental challenges requires all who can afford it to contribute their fair share. Despite the popular, often comedic, misconceptions, New Jersey is a great place to live.
But the Republicans have it all wrong, If tax relief is needed, it should be targeted to those at the lower end of the income scale. Any money saved on taxes would immediately be plowed back into the state’s economy and not invested in offshore bank accounts.
So how about instead of reducing the estate taxes, we give tax relief to those on the lower end of the income scale? Raise the gasoline tax, but provide a tax rebate (say $50.00) to all in-state automobile owners whose income is less than say $35,000. This would remove the most regressive aspects of the gas tax increase and help not only those who get the rebate, but the state’s economy as a whole.