TRENTON, N. J. (CBS) — New Jersey is ending its second week without a plan to replenish the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. Hundreds of local projects have been stopped by the Governor’s office as talks continue with state senate leaders in an attempt to break a legislative impasse over tax cuts.
The gas tax will go up 23 cents a gallon, wherever a deal is made. The problem stems from what tax cuts to make to satisfy Governor Chris Christie. He’s supporting a 1 percent reduction in the 7 percent sales tax passed by the assembly.
State Senate President Steve Sweeney, who would rather eliminate the estate tax, says the sales tax deal won’t work for him.
“We just can’t blow a 2 billion dollar budget hole,” Sweeney told KYW Newsradio. “And you know, the assembly passed a constitutional amendment to fund the pension at the same time. So how do you do both?”
That amendment, which would be subject to voter approval in the fall, would mandate adequate payments be regularly made into the state pension fund.
Sweeney spoke after a Wednesday afternoon meeting with officials in the Kingsway Regional School District in Gloucester County, where education funding was discussed.
The Senate President met with Christie this week to talk compromise. Sweeney won’t reveal specifics, but says a deal needs to get done quickly.
“If we could come to a compromise, there’s no reason why we could not come back in and act on the Transportation Trust Fund one of the days during the Democratic National Convention,” Sweeney added.
Although he’d rather get it done this week. Given many Republicans, including Christie, will be in Cleveland next week for their convention, a quick session could not be called then.
If this drags on into August, things could get worse.