Senate Democrats on the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee blocked an effort by Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) to phase out the estate tax, increase exemptions for retirement income, increase the EITC, create an income tax exemption for veterans, and create a deduction for gas taxes paid.
During the committee’s consideration of A-12/S-2411, Beck offered a committee substitute including those tax cuts, but without the $1.2 billion gas tax increase of the original legislation.
“New Jersey residents are outraged at the proposal to increase the gas tax by 23 cents per gallon,” said Beck. “They were outraged in June when this proposal was first brought up, and they’re outraged that we’re back here on a Friday in late July trying again. Leaders in Trenton should listen to what the people of New Jersey are saying.”
Senator Kip Bateman (R-16) said that he will not be able to support a 23 cent per gallon gas tax increase if the proposal is posted for a full Senate vote.
“Most reasonable people accept that there is a cost associated with the upkeep, maintenance and expansion of our critical transportation infrastructure,” said Bateman. “What doesn’t seem reasonable, however, is to say that traffic across the state will suddenly grind to a halt if we don’t raise the gas tax by more than 150 percent. There’s a lot of rhetoric and hyperbole, but little real discussion about why the proposed tax increase is necessary.”
Senator Jennifer Beck was joined by Asbury Park Councilwoman Yvonne Clayton announcing that Renaissance Village, a 64 unit affordable housing project, would receive $7,870,000 from the third round of Community Development Block Grant funding. Additionally, the Boston Way Village complex, a 104 unit affordable housing project, will receive $12,348,745.
These are Sandy-related federal funds passed through the State of New Jersey under the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing. This funding will allow these projects to move forward, an important step in the larger Springwood Avenue Redevelopment Area, of which both developments are within.
“Without these funds, needed projects like this one would not be able to move forward,” said Beck. “I worked closely with the Administration, DCA and the Councilwoman Yvonne Clayton to make sure a portion of these federal dollars came to Monmouth County as we continue to rebuild post-Sandy. I believe this project will spark further redevelopment in the greater Springwood Avenue area by providing housing and mixed-use space that does not currently exist along the Springwood Avenue corridor.”
Beck Partners with Affordable Housing Alliance & Joseph Alpert Group to Save 99 Affordable Housing Units in Neptune Twp.
Senator Jennifer Beck, Neptune Committeeman Randy Bishop and the Affordable Housing Alliance announced that Winding Ridge Apartments has qualified for Low Income Housing Tax Credits through the Housing and Mortgage Financing Authority of New Jersey.
These tax credits will allow the seniors and families who currently live in Winding Ridge’s 99 affordable units to avoid eviction.
“This public-private partnership through Donna Blaze of the Affordable Housing Alliance and The Joseph Alpert Group literally saved 99 seniors and families from losing their homes. I am happy to have played a role in securing the tax credits necessary so that residents who have lived in Winding Ridge for over 15 years will be able to stay there. I applaud the hard work of the Affordable Housing alliance, in conjunction with The Joseph Alpert Group, to ensure that affordable housing options for Neptune residents will exist far into the future” said Senator Beck.
Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) reiterated his opposition to increasing New Jersey’s gas tax, calling the proposal a “loser” for New Jersey.
“I say the gas tax plan is a ‘loser’ because we would lose so much should it be enacted,” said Doherty. “We’d lose the incentive to study our highest-in-the-nation road construction costs. We’d lose business at gas stations and throughout communities along our borders with Pennsylvania and New York. Most important, overtaxed New Jersey drivers would lose more of their hard-earned income to fund projects that have nothing to do with roads.”
The New Jersey Senate overwhelming passed legislation (S-1675) sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove that would require at least two regular meetings each year of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to be held on a rotating basis in Ocean County, Atlantic County, and Cape May County.
The 9th District legislators issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the legislation:
“Holding meetings in the southern end of the state will allow the Turnpike Authority the opportunity to get a better understanding of local residents’ concerns with respect to the transportation projects. Residents who use the Garden State Parkway, especially those with long commutes, want to ensure that the hard-earned money they pay in tolls is not only being effectively utilized but that their area of the state is getting its fair share of funding for needed infrastructure improvements.
Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) has sent letters to every member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation urging their efforts to help advance a full federal funding solution to combat the Zika virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly and other severe birth defects in infants, and is responsible for miscarriages and still births.
“The Zika virus poses a serious threat to women who are pregnant and their unborn children,” said Oroho. “It’s imperative that Congress put aside politics and approve the funding that national health experts say is needed to prevent the Zika virus from becoming a national public health crisis. With the impact of Zika already being felt here in New Jersey, I urge our state’s congressional delegation to take the lead in this effort.”
Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) said that it would be a mistake to replace New Jersey’s complex and failed school funding formula with another convoluted formula that would be the likely result of a study commission proposed by Senate Democrats.
“New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation because our overly complex school funding formula tries to pick favorites, giving some districts hundreds of millions and others next to nothing,” said Doherty. “You can’t fix that inequity by punting the problem to a commission of bureaucrats who will produce another bad formula. The fair, simple and transparent solution is to treat all kids equally.”
Doherty will introduce Governor Christie’s proposed “Fairness Formula,” which would split the approximately $9 billion of direct school aid in the state budget into equal school aid for each student. Under the “Fairness Formula,” each public school district would receive $6,599 per enrolled student, along with aid for special needs students.
Beck: Democrats’ “New” 23 Cent/Gallon, $1.2 Billion Gas Tax Increase Plan Nearly Identical to Old, Failed Proposal
Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) said that a new $1.2 billion gas tax plan announced by the Senate President and Assembly Speaker today is nearly identical to and just as bad for taxpayers as the original Senate plan that failed to advance last month.
“The tax plan announced by Democrats today would still raise the gas tax by 23 cents per gallon, just as the last failed plan would have,” said Beck. “The cosmetic changes that the Senate President and Assembly Speaker have agreed to are just window dressing on the core $1.2 billion tax increase on drivers that remains largely unchanged from the previous version of the legislation.”
Beck has spearheaded the effort to oppose a gas tax, leading rallies attended by hundreds and an online petition that has been signed nearly 11,000 times.
Says We’ve Come Too Far to Allow Reform Effort to Stall
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean called for the advancement of reforms to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, including the approval of a new chief executive officer and the passage of legislation that would cement the position and other critical changes.
Kean’s action follows concerns expressed by Port Authority Chairman John Degnan that momentum to enact reforms is stalling. Degnan has asked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to approve a new CEO from a shortlist of candidates produced by a search committee.
Kean is the sponsor of S-355 which provides governance, transparency, and accountability reforms to the Port Authority.
“With the Port Authority so important to our region and economy, we must work to eliminate the structural deficiencies that have been identified,” said Kean. “The failure to adopt a new management structure, hire a CEO, and codify reforms is an invitation for continued abuse.”