By David Madden

(TRENTON, NJ) — As New Jersey wrestles with a crisis over the replenishing of the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, one North Jersey legislator wants to change the one thing most of the major players seem to agree on.

There are differences over what taxes to cut, and by how much, to get Governor Chris Christie’s blessing for a 23 cent a gallon hike in the gas tax.  Enter Democratic State Senator Ray Lesniak, who wants a 25 cent increase spread out over 3 years. A dime in years one and two and a nickel in year three.
“Phasing in the tax, I think, will avoid that sticker shock and allow people to get accustomed to the necessary revenues that we need to protect their safety,” Lesniak told KYW Newsradio.

He hopes to garner enough Republican votes to override a certain Gubernatorial veto. But to be candid, were that possible, the Assembly would have never cut the deal they did with Christie to drop the sales tax to 6%, creating the ongoing impasse with a senate version that cuts the estate tax.

Lesniak also would prefer cuts in spending as opposed to taxes, suggesting both alternatives would create budget problems in future years.
Most observers see Lesniak’s idea as having little chance of gaining significant support amongst his legislative colleagues.