According to a News release from PolitickerNJ’s Chase Brush, Senate President Steve Sweeney suggested that “partisanship” will get in the way of funding the transportation trust fund. This is important to talk about because this issue is not brand new. Partisanship already got in the way, and I’d like to specifically go back to March of 2014 for a key example.
On March 27th, 2014, Senator Nicholas Scutari introduced Senate Bill 1896 which aimed to legalize small amounts of marijuana for people over the age of 21. This bill specifically designated 70% of a potential $100 million dollar industry for funding the transportation trust fund. That’s at least $70 million dollars! From a brand new industry!
But, partisanship knocked that proposal down before it even got a chance to fly. Governor Christie knew that such a bill would damage a 2016 bid for the White House, and several close allies to the governor simply suggested that New Jersey was, “not ready for marijuana”. To say that the Governor is considering everything to be on the table is just not true at all, since previously, S1896 was not.
This is such an important political memory to have, especially while we look at the newest proposal to reinvest in our infrastructure. As the news release by Brush suggests, the new proposal, which is largely opposed by republicans, aims to establish a 25 cent gas tax.
Let’s dial back. We had a proposal less than a year ago that would have created a brand new economy, possibly could have caused New Jersey to explode with revenue, it was favored by a majority of New Jersey residents, and yet it was quickly dismissed.
Now we have a proposal that would rock the pockets of NJ residents during a time of gas-price-recovery, which is scheduled to benefit the overall economy since residents are now finding an additional $25-$30 in their wallets every week. The oil industry is not brand new and is a necessity for most New Jersey residents. Why tax a necessity when we could have created something brand new, optional, and economically rewarding? Why did we scoff at the magic wand were handed?
Because partisanship, that’s why.