In an email to his Republican colleagues in the NJ Senate on Monday, Senator Michael Doherty said that the Assembly Republican leadership’s support of increasing the gas tax is what led to the loss of four seats in the lower chamber in last week’s election.
Rutgers-Eagleton conducted a poll in October on the gas tax. See attachment and an extract of the results below.
Why did Republican Assembly leadership come out in support of a gas tax increase?
R Assembly candidates should have all come out 100% against a gas tax increase.
66% of voters oppose a gas tax increase.
We had 69% of Independent voters and 73% of Republican voters on our side.
Even 57% of Democrat voters oppose the gas tax increase.
We wouldn’t have lost any seats if R’s campaigned on being 100% against a gas tax increase.
“We didn’t have to lose any seats and could have picked up a few,” Doherty said told MoreMonmouthMusings, “We had no message.”
Doherty said that he has not heard back from any of his Senate colleagues.
Doherty is not advocating letting the Transportation Trust Fund go broke or letting New Jersey’s roads crumble further. “We need to look at revenues and expenditures,” the Warren County conservative said. Referring to the Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report, he said “New Jersey spends $2 million per mile on road construction, twelve times the national average. We spend four times more per mile than Massachusetts, another northeastern state with a similar climate. We spend more than New York and California.”
Doherty criticized the Republicans attempt to link an increase in the gas tax to a reduction of in the estate tax. “We’ll lose our leverage to reform the cost of our roads. We need to determine why we’re spending so much more than other states on our roads and correct that situation.”
Doherty said that he is hopeful that Governor Chris Christie will use the conditional veto to re-write the gas tax increase if it gets to his desk by eliminating prevailing wage and other cost drivers of New Jersey’s roads.