The New Jersey General Assembly approved a measure early June 28 to increase the state motor fuel tax by 23 cents-per-gallon. The legislation is estimated to provide $2 billion per year over eight years. The bill would also decrease the state sales tax gradually by 1 percent and provide a retirement income tax break in order to achieve the “tax fairness” equalization sought after by Gov. Chris Christie (R).

Gov. Christie stated, “I’m pleased that the Assembly has heeded my suggestion for tax fairness as I’ve been calling for for a long time. I think it was needed, necessary, while at the same time we’re going to have constitutionally dedicated revenue to improve roads, bridges and mass transit systems here in the state.”

The bill now goes before the Democratic-led Senate for consideration, where it is likely to be discussed on the floor as early as June 30. If approved, the tax could go into effect as soon as July 1, the beginning of the state’s fiscal year. Opponents have voiced concern that the state cannot afford to decrease the general sales tax.

Hear some thoughts on the bill from one of its sponsors, Speaker Vincent Prieto (D- District 32).