FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Voters in New Jersey may have a chance to end the state’s new 23 percent gas tax – depending on how they answer “Public Question 2” appearing on ballots statewide.
As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, most New Jerseyans have already decided between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. But when you ask them about a gasoline tax proposal, they will see when they head to the polls.
When Conybeare asked two New Jersey voters if they knew what Public Question 2 was, they said they did not.
Another voter, Dora Casa of Fairlawn, did know. She said, “Our taxes are going up; our gas prices are going up.”
A fourth New Jerseyan said: “It’s a big deal for some people, but I haven’t heard much about it,”
There is certainly is a lot of confusion out there, but one thing is clear — a vote of no on Public Question 2 will not repeal the latest gas tax increase in the State of New Jersey as a lot of people seem to think.
The actual wording of the gas tax proposal known as Public Question 2 is this: “Do you approve amending the Constitution to dedicate all revenue from the state motor fuels tax and petroleum products gross receipts tax to the Transportation Trust Fund?”
While Gov. Chris Christie and most state legislators want people to vote yes, Christie’s own Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno fears the $12 billion in borrowing attached to the Transportation Trust Fund will require more interest payments and higher gas taxes down the road.
Some voters said the phrasing of Public Question 2 was confusing.
“The wording isn’t very straightforward,” said motorist Ariel Aristy. “It seems like they’re trying to trick people into voting against what they really intend to vote for.”
Most voters told CBS2 they just don’t trust politicians in Trenton to do the right thing.
“If it’s a gas tax, it’s supposed to go for construction of roads, it should go to the roads — not to have a different department — Board of Education or something — take that money and use it somewhere else,” said Frank Lagalia of Cresskill.
The a 23-cents-per-gallon increase in the state’s gas tax took effect this past Tuesday. New Jersey previously had the nation’s second-lowest gas tax, behind only Alaska. But the boost has catapulted it to the sixth highest.
The increase came about after the state ran out of money to pay for transportation projects. The boost from 14.5 cents per gallon to 37.5 cents marks the first time the gas tax has been raised since 1988.
The tax boost is part of a deal between Christie and the state’s Democratic-led Legislature that includes an 8-year, $16 billion transportation trust fund and cuts to the estate and sales taxes.