Christie in NH: No New Jersey gas tax hike

Christie in NH: No New Jersey gas tax hike
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Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie is telling voters in New Hampshire that he will oppose efforts to increase the gas tax in his state to help pay for transportation projects, NJ.com reports

"I'll tell you what I'm not going to do, I'm not going to increase the gas tax while you're sitting here and complaining to me about every other tax being too high, but you want me to spend money on roads," Christie said during a campaign appearance in Salem, N.H., according to the report. 

"Well, I've spent money on roads, and we have the second lowest gas tax in America," the New Jersey governor continued. 

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Christie is pinning his presidential hopes on a strong show in New Hampshire's primary on Tuesday.

Lawmakers in his home state have been considering a proposal that would increase the state’s tax on wholesale petroleum by 4 cents while he has been on the campaign trail, according to media reports.

New Jersey drivers are currently charged a 14.5 cents per gallon tax on gas purchases in a combination of excise taxes and other state levies. 

A  new fuel levy would be collected on top of an 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax.

The American Petroleum Institute says the gas tax increase will bring the total amount of taxes that drivers in New Jersey pay at the pump to nearly 36 cents per gallon, which is among the lowest rates in the nation. 

New Jersey is the latest state to consider increasing its own gas taxes in recent years as Congress has resisted a federal hike. Six states implemented such increases on July 1 of last year. 

Transportation advocates had pushed lawmakers to increase the federal gas tax during a debate about a multiyear highway funding bill last year, but lawmakers opted instead to turn to other areas of the federal budget to pay for a five-year, $305 billion highway bill. 

Supporters of increasing the gas tax pointing to the willingness of states like New Jersey to consider raising their own fuel levies as evidence that a national hike would be politically palatable now. 

Christie has said that corporate revenue that is stored overseas should be taxed at an 8.75 percent rate to pay for transportation projects in the nation, however.  

“Bring the money ... back to the United States, we’ll tax that one time at eight and three-quarters percent,” he said during a GOP debate in January. “Because 35 percent of zero is zero, but eight three-quarters of $2 trillion is a lot of money. I would then dedicate that money to rebuilding infrastructure in this country.” 

Christie said during his campaign stop in New Hampshire that New Jersey's transportation funding is sufficient without a gas tax hike, according to the report. 

"And by the way, the Transportation Trust Fund is not broke, so let's get on that one too," he said. "I've spent $3.2 billion a year, every year on my governorship on fixing roads and bridges in the state of New Jersey. And it's not broke."