Not content with driving out its wealthiest with yet another tax hike on millionaires, New Jersey just made life for all of its residents, including lower and middle classes, more expensive when it quietly decided on Friday to hike the state's fuel tax.
Drivers filling up gas in New Jersey will pay 9.3 cents more per gallon, or a 22.5% increase, after the state announced a fuel tax increase that will take effect October 1, the Philly Voice reported. The rate increase will bring the state tax from 41.4 cents per gallon to 50.7 cents per gallon.
The NJ Treasury Department explained Friday that the decision was necessary because tax revenue has fallen with fewer people on the road during the coronavirus pandemic. And so, in all its brilliance, the Garden State plans to make gas even more expensive and guarantee that there will be even fewer people on the road because even before covid, New Jersey was the state with the most foreclosures not because its residents are swimming in money but, well, the opposite. So why not make everyone even poorer?
According to the Treasury, the increased tax revenue will support and ensure the solvency of the state's Transportation Trust Fund, which was established in 2016 under former Gov. Chris Christie. The TTF requires that approximately $2 billion be contributed each year, with adjustments based on a model that assumes an increase of $50 million annually for every penny added to the fuel tax, according NJ.com.
"As we've noted before, any changes in the gas tax rate are dictated by several factors that are beyond the control of the administration," State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said in a statement Friday. "The law enacted in 2016 contains a specific formula to ensure that revenue is meeting a certain target. When it does not, the gas tax rate has to be adjusted accordingly in order for us to meet our obligation under the law and fully fund the state's many pressing transportation infrastructure needs."
The tax on diesel fuel also will rise by the same amount from 48.4 cents per gallon to 57.7 cents per gallon.
The last time the New Jersey tax was increased was in 2018, when Gov. Phil Murphy raised the rate by 4.3 cents per gallon. When the latest increase takes effect, the fuel tax in New Jersey will have increased by more than 250% since the TTF was established in 2016.
After the tax hike, New Jersey's gas tax will be the fourth highest behind California, Pennsylvania and Illinois. The state currently has the 10th highest fuel tax in the U.S.