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Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Ciattarelli hits Murphy over gas tax hike

By Nikita Biryukov, August 31 2020 4:16 pm

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli launched an attack at Gov. Phil Murphy after the incumbent said he was unaware of a 9.3 cent increase to the state’s gasoline tax announced Friday when he delivered his revised budget address last Tuesday.

“When asked if he was aware of the gas tax increase when he presented his budget, his response was: ‘… I knew of it sometime — maybe a day or two — before, I can’t actually recall, but it has nothing to do with the budget. It’s not in my control. I have literally nothing to do with it,’” Ciattarelli said. “This is outrageous.”

State Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio announced the increase, which drove the total tax on gasoline to 50.7 cents and the total diesel fuel tax to 57.7 cents, on Friday, days after Murphy gave a budget address that included another call for a millionaires tax.

The increases are mandated by a law signed as part of an agreement between former Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic legislative leaders in 2016. Ciattarelli, then an assemblyman, voted against the measure, which was opposed by most Republicans in the chamber.

“Today is Monday.  The Governor can’t remember what happened last week on something as important as a tax levy that affects every New Jerseyan?” he said. “The Governor’s own state treasurer announced the gas tax increase.  What kind of administration is this? What kind of leadership is this? Is the Governor arrogant, oblivious, a liar or all three? If he’s going to continue to insult us, maybe it’s time for the Governor to find another line of work.”

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