Gov. Chris Christie, joined by Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, gathered at the Statehouse Friday to announce an agreement to fund the state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund and phase in a series of tax cuts. — Courtesy: Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen
By Joshua Burd
New Jersey’s transportation funding crisis is coming to an end, under a deal announced by Gov. Chris Christie and state lawmakers.
The bipartisan agreement, unveiled Friday at the Statehouse, calls for raising the state’s gas tax for the first time since 1988 to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund. The 23-cent-per-gallon increase will fund a $2 billion TTF plan over the next years, with 100 percent of gas tax revenues constitutionally dedicated to repair and replace the state’s roads and bridges.
As part of a compromise with legislative Democrats, the plan also includes a phased-in sales tax cut, from 7 percent to 6.25 percent by Jan. 1, 2018, along with a 15-month phase-out of the estate tax, an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit and increase in the state’s gross income tax exclusion on pension and retirement income.
“I am pleased to present a plan that represents tax fairness for the residents of New Jersey,” Christie said in a prepared statement, following a news conference in which he was joined by Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.
“This is the first broad-based tax cut for all New Jerseyans since 1994, which is much-needed,” Christie added. “At the same time we are going to have constitutionally dedicated revenue to improve roads, bridges and the mass transit systems in the state.”
Business leaders, including those in the commercial real estate, have been raising alarm about the funding crisis for two years. The crisis came to a head in July, when hundreds of nonessential road projects were halted amid a stalemate between Christie and legislative leaders.
For more, see Friday’s story by Politico New Jersey.
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Editor’s note: The Rundown is a regular feature by Real Estate NJ in which we recap commercial real estate stories and headlines from across the state.