State senator proposes tax credit to help ease gas price pain

The latest idea of ​​several aimed at relieving high gas prices was proposed by a South Jersey lawmaker on Thursday to give taxpayers an immediate tax credit of $250 to $500.

Proposed by State Senator Edward Durr, R-Gloucester, the bill would provide a tax credit of $500 to families earning less than $250,000 and $250 to single or individual filers earning less than $125,000 . Nine other Republican lawmakers co-sponsored the bill.

“Gasoline prices and inflation are skyrocketing, making it harder for New Jerseyans to fill their tanks and feed their families,” Durr said in a statement about the legislation he has. presented Thursday.

The idea was proposed as gasoline prices hit a record average price of $4.36 a gallon in the state on Friday and inflation hit a high of 7.5%, according to the index. consumer price.

Durr’s bill is part of the GOP’s broader “Give It Back” initiative that is pressuring Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, to use about $4.6 billion in excess tax collected and not budgeted to provide tax credits of $500 to $1,000. These tax credits are proposed in separate legislation introduced on March 2 of the 2021 tax year. These tax credits would be in addition to those proposed in Durr’s bill.

“It’s meant to ease inflation, not just ease gas prices,” Bradley Schnure, spokesman for the state Senate Republicans, said of Durr’s bill. “This is for the 2021 tax year, since people are filing now and need help now. Doing it this way is the fastest way to get tax relief for New Yorkers. Jersey.

If this were done for the 2022 tax year, taxpayers would not see relief until 2023, he said.

“Combined, the two proposals ($3 billion and $1.5 billion) would return to taxpayers virtually all of the $4.6 billion in additional tax costs collected by the Murphy administration in this fiscal year that weren’t budgeted,” he said.

A spokesperson for Murphy declined to comment on the pending legislation.

In the fiscal year 2023 budget message, Murphy indirectly responded by proposing the new ANCHOR program to extend property tax relief to nearly 1.8 million households. Owners earning up to $250,000 would qualify for an average rebate of $700 in the first year. Renters earning up to $100,000 would be eligible for a rebate of up to $250 to help offset the cost of rent increases, due to property tax increases that are typically passed on to rent increases.

Murphy’s budget plan also proposes to cut a wide range of fees by a combined $60 million in a one-year fee holiday ranging from driver’s licenses to marriage licenses to park fees. ‘State.

But GOP officials said Durr’s bill and Give It Back would bring money to residents faster.

“That was one of our criticisms of Governor Murphy’s ANCHOR plan – he has the money now, but relief won’t start until next year (and less than what we’re offering to half the number of people ),” Schnure said. “Under our plan, the tax relief would be immediate. If someone has already filed their 2021 taxes before the bill is enacted, the payment would be sent to them automatically by the Treasury without the need to file an amended tax return.

There are other ideas surfacing to relieve high gasoline prices, including one launched by the Garden State Initiative to temporarily suspend collection of the state’s 42.4 cents per gallon gasoline tax. . This tax supports the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, which funds major road and transit infrastructure projects.

While transportation advocates oppose it, fearing it will disrupt major road and transit infrastructure work, GSI argues the money could be clawed back when summer tourism kicks in and more people come. will travel to the Jersey Shore and other destinations. The right-wing think tank also said additional funds from President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Act could also make up some of the difference.

The GSI proposal did not specify the duration of a gasoline tax exemption it was recommending.

A similar idea was floated at the federal level by several members of the New Jersey congressional delegation to suspend collection of the federal gasoline tax of 18.3 cents per gallon. A group of Senate Democrats, led by Mark Kelly of Arizona, pushed the measure. Similar legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Arizona.

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Larry Higgs can be reached at [email protected].