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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Murphy praises lawmakers over congestion pricing proposal but stops short of endorsing plan

Gottheimer, District 38 Democrats want out-of-state commuters taxed on New York crossings

By Nikita Biryukov, May 12 2021 2:31 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy praised Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and legislators in the 38th district for announcing a plan to tax out-of-state residents crossing into New Jersey from New York if the neighboring state adopts congestion pricing but stopped short of clearly endorsing their proposal Wednesday.

“I’m still optimistic this lands in a good and fair place, but I love the fact that we’re fighting it,” Murphy said. “I’m fighting it. I love the fact that Josh and the team from the legislative district are standing up, and we’re going to continue to do that until we get a resolution here that is fair.

On Monday, Gottheimer, State Sen. Joe Lagana (D-Paramus), Assemblywoman Lisa Swain (D-Fair Lawn) and Assemblyman Chris Tully (D-Bergenfield) announced legislation that would impose a sales tax on out-of-state commuters crossing into New Jersey from New York.

Those moneys would go into a congestion tax relief fund meant to reimburse New Jersey commuters for New York’s proposed congestion pricing plan, which would see Manhattan-bound drivers crossing the George Washington Bridge pay a surcharge of up to $13.

New Jerseyans who drive into New York using the bridge every weekday could end up paying more than $3,300 in congestion pricing fees if the plan is approved.

Though he praised them, Murphy stopped short of endorsing the New Jersey lawmakers’ proposal, instead repeating his demands on congestion pricing.

“We want to be at the table,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re not getting double taxed or double tolled, and frankly, if there’s revenue that’s generated, we want a piece of that in New Jersey because that would be part of the deal.”

The governor also raised another thorny interstate tax matter. He said New Jersey would push to block New Jerseyans who work in the city during normal times but have been pushed to remote work by the pandemic.

“We’re not taking it lying down on wages that are taxed on New York, which makes sense if you’re going to New York every day but doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you’re working from home in New Jersey,” he said. “We’re going to fight that one as well.”

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