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Poll: Time for Compromise On Transportation Fund, Gas Tax?

With only days left to get things done, what do you think is the best way to steer clear of this crisis in the making?

There’s only a week left to go before the current finance plan for the state Transportation Trust Fund expires. Lawmakers this morning are scheduled to consider a bill to renew the fund for another 10 years with $2 billion in annual spending. They’re also planning to vote on a bill that would raise the state gas tax by 23 cents to pay for the transportation-fund renewal, while cutting a number of other taxes, including the estate tax.

The two bills are the result of a bipartisan “tax-fairness” agreement between lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly. But it’s doubtful Gov. Chris Christie will support the plan, and also unclear is whether there will be enough votes in both houses and from both parties to override a possible veto.

What should Christie and legislators do?

  • Christie needs to roll up his sleeves and join the fray. He’s been at his best when he’s worked with lawmakers from both parties to find compromise, like on the 2 percent property tax cap passed in 2010. His legacy is on the line here and it’s not too late for him to prove he cares about the future of this state by getting involved and negotiating a fair deal with lawmakers.

  • Is this a joke? Trading one tax hike for some tax cuts just doesn’t make sense. The state simply needs to do a better job of prioritizing the revenue that’s already being collected. Plus, the state has a lousy record when it comes to raising taxes and spending the money. No thanks.

  • This isn’t a perfect deal, but it’s a good deal and it should be adopted as soon as possible. The bipartisan plan offers enough to members of both parties to declare victory. Unlike the partisan gridlock that’s made Washington, D.C. a laughingstock, at least in Trenton lawmakers are still working together, and they deserve kudos for that.

  • This isn’t tax fairness at all. The gas tax should be increased and the transportation fund extended, but not in exchange for tax cuts that will mostly benefit the rich while taking much-needed cash away from the budget. Democrats control the Legislature and they need to play hardball on this one because too much is at stake to make a bad deal.

  • Lawmakers are on the right track, but their plan is too ambitious. The state can continue at the current rate of $1.6 billion in annual spending on road, bridge and rail-network improvements. That means the gas-tax hike doesn’t need to be so large. And the tax cuts are also too aggressive. For example, instead of phasing out the estate tax, just lift the income threshold. A leaner approach on both sides would win my support.

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