CD-11 Flashpoint: Armed with Gas Tax Vote, Webber Goes on Offense

DENVILLE – Jay Webber seized on Monday’s increase in the New Jersey gas tax to boost his tax-cutting credentials.

Reiterating how New Jersey is a costly place to live, Webber visited a Sunoco gas station in Denville and proclaimed, “Today, it just got worse.”

Webber, who is running against Democrat Mikie Sherrill in the 11th Congressional District, called on Gov. Phil Murphy to suspend what was an automatic increase of 4.3 cents per gallon beginning Monday. In the likely event the governor doesn’t do that, Webber said he’d introduce legislation to make it happen.

Webber seems to be on safe ground here.

Few motorists want to pay more for gas.

The state’s gas tax, which had been one of the lowest in the nation, was increased in 2016 by 23 cents per gallon under a bipartisan deal engineered by Republican Governor Chris Christie and Democrats in the Legislature.

Webber, who is now an assemblyman, voted no, which he said demonstrates his willingness  to stand up to his own party if needed.

Not fully publicized or realized at the time was an automatic boost in the tax if it is not raising enough revenue. That’s what happened Monday. This process going forward can be a little like trying to catch a rainbow. If revenue falls, the tax is increased. But revenue could be falling because the tax was increased in the first place. Where does the cycle end?

That’s Webber’s point. He said there is evidence drivers living just over the border in Pennsylvania and New York state are no longer buying gas in New Jersey because there’s no longer much of a savings.

The tax was increased to fix the state’s aging infrastructure, but Webber contends there were other ways to accomplish that.

Still, this is not a federal issue.

Webber acknowledged that, but said his “no” vote on the gas tax increase shows his tendency to stand up for the taxpayer.

He said Sherrill backed the tax increase, a questionable point because not being in the Legislature, Sherrill never had a vote.

Sherrill, by the way, also has taxes on her mind.

She hit Webber once again on Monday for not opposing federal tax reform, which has capped the deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000. The House voted to make that cap permanent last week; Senate action is still needed.

Sherrill claims the average state and local tax deduction in the district is about $19,000. That means, families are paying taxes on an additional $9,000 in income according to this calculation. The actual tax they play depends on income brackets.

Webber says he doesn’t support the cap, but that the overall tax plan is good for the country and for New Jersey.

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2 responses to “CD-11 Flashpoint: Armed with Gas Tax Vote, Webber Goes on Offense”

  1. Gee, wasn’t the structure of the entire Gas Tax plan something that was signed into law by our amazing Governor Chris Christie?

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