Gas tax revenues are down about $5 million for the previous 13 months, which could trigger an increase in New Jersey’s gas tax a month before the gubernatorial election.
That decision won’t be made for sure until state officials and an independent entity review the numbers. The tax will only increase if the total annual revenues fall short of $2 billion.
The state Department of the Treasury quietly announced collection figures on Friday.
That means the gas tax could increase by about 1 cent to 1 ½ cents from the current 50.7 cents-per-gallon rate. Five years ago, the gas tax was under 15 cents-per-gallon.
Under a law approved in 2016, the state must announce an intention to increase the gas tax by the end of August with an effective date of October 1. Tax revenues go to the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).
Automatic increases triggered by revenue numbers were part of a deal then-Gov. Chris Christie cut with legislators, who renewed the TTF through 2024. That obviates the need for legislators to keep voting on tax increases.
Gov. Phil Murphy’s Republican opponent, Jack Ciattarelli, voted against the 23 cent gas tax increase as a member of the State Assembly. So did his running mate, then-State Sen. Diane Allen.
Last year, Murphy said that he was not aware of plans to increase the gas tax by an addition 9.3 cents when he delivered his revised budget address in August.