Toll Money for Roads, Not Wall Street

Enough Toll and Gas Tax Money to Pay for Roads

Every day we are told we need a billion dollar gasoline tax hike to fix a transportation “crisis”.  That’s a big lie.   The $1.5 billion we already pay in tolls and gas taxes is more than enough to pay for the best roads and bridges in the country.

Only Wall Street banks and investors getting high tax free income would benefit from a gas tax hike.

For years, Democrats and Republicans on the NJ Transportation Trust Fund Authority recklessly spent far more than they took in.   They wasted billions on projects that had nothing to do with roads and bridges.    To do this, they borrowed $16 billion without getting voter approval as required by our state Constitution.

Bonds without voter approval in NJ are high-risk “junk” because state government has no legal obligation to repay them.   That is why they pay such high, tax-free income.

Our State Constitution required voter approval for borrowing since 1844 for good reason.   It was designed to prevent reckless borrowing by state governments that caused a nationwide economic collapse of 1837.

Since the 1960’s, state politicians and clever lawyers created dozens of “authorities” to by-pass this safeguard.    That explains much of our high debt, corruption and taxes in NJ today.

Let’s understand and enforce our State Constitution again.   Tell your State Senator and Assembly members, “Enough!”  Gas tax and toll money should fix our roads and bridges–not bail out Wall Street.

Seth Grossman, the executive director of Liberty & Prosperity 1776 (libertyandprosperity.org), is a former Atlantic City Council member and Atlantic County freeholder, and ran in the 2013 Republican primary for New Jersey governor.

No Gas Tax Hike!

No Gas Tax Hike!

Years ago, politicians lied when they said a new 3% state sales tax, and 2% state income tax would cut local property taxes.   They are doing it again with the gas tax.

The $1.5 billion we already pay in tolls and gas taxes each year is more than enough for safe roads and bridges.

The problem is that Democrats and Republicans on the NJ Transportation Trust Fund Authority recklessly spent way too much–including billions on projects that had nothing to do with roads and bridges.    Over the years, they borrowed $16 billion–all without voter approval as required by our state Constitution.

Our State Supreme Court repeatedly ruled that state taxpayers have no legal obligation to pay these bonds.   Investors got clear written warnings of the risk.

Nearly 180 years ago, reckless spending and borrowing by state governments caused a nationwide economic collapse called “The Panic of 1837”.     We fixed the economy by adopting a new State Constitution in 1844 that required voter approval before the state could borrow any money.

During the past 50 years, state politicians and clever lawyers created dozens of “authorities” to avoid this safeguard.    That is why we have such high debt, corruption and taxes in NJ today.

Let’s follow our State Constitution again.   Tell State Senators Beck and Kyrillos and our Assembly people to stop funding debt that was not approved by voters.    Let the rotten Transportation Trust Fund Authority go bankrupt and shut down.    Then we can again spend all of our gas tax and toll money on  roads and bridges.

 Seth Grossman, the executive director of Liberty & Prosperity 1776 (libertyandprosperity.org), is a former Atlantic City Council member and Atlantic County freeholder, and ran in the 2013 Republican primary for New Jersey governor.

$1.6 billion per year NJ gasoline tax is more than enough.

IV.  KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT THE GASOLINE TAX.

The “smart” people in state politics and the media say we need  higher gasoline taxes to fix our roads and bridges.    They are wrong.

We already pay $1.6 billion in state highway taxes.   They include a half billion dollars added at the pump,  $215 million on a hidden “petroleum tax” at the wholesale level,  and another half  billion dollars of our 7% state sales tax earmarked for transportation.    We also pay all sorts of tolls, along with $1.6 billion of federal gasoline taxes that are spent in New Jersey.

The taxes we already pay are more than enough to give us the finest roads and bridges in America.

But our roads and bridges are old, shabby, and dangerous instead.  Almost all of our highway tax money is used to pay back some $17  billion of debt run up by the  “New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority”.  The unelected trustees of this Authority have agreed to use every bit of the $1.6 billion we pay in state highway taxes to pay that debt for the next 30 years.

NJ taxpayers have no legal obligation to repay that money because the loans were never approved by voters as required by our state Constitution.  We have no moral obligation, because most of that money was spent on projects that gave fat profits to inside union contractors and Wall Street bankers, but did very little for the rest of us.

For example, $1 billion of this borrowed money was spent on the nearly empty Camden to Trenton trains that cost $30 per passenger to operate.

New Jersey spends $2 million for every mile of road.    This is triple the $675,000 spent by Massachusetts, the next highest state, and more than 8 times the national average.

We spent half a billion dollars to replace two simple draw bridges between Somers Point and Ocean City.    Did we have to build an artificial mountain for a new visitor center?   Did we have to build a Pulaski Skyway over a mile of swamp?

To fix our broken roads and bridges, we must first fix our broken “pay to play” political culture.

The first step is for our Governor and Legislators to repudiate (refuse to pay) the  $17 billion “NJ Transportation Trust Fund Authority” debt starting now.   They can and must simply refuse to appropriate the money in the next budget.

Once that is done, the Governor and the Legislature can negotiate with bondholders to pay a fair amount that taxpayers can afford—without doubling the gasoline tax!

Higher taxes and more borrowing will continue the corrupt and expensive “pay to play” political culture that has ruined New Jersey during the past 50 years.

Repudiate –Before it’s too late. A LibertyAndProsperity.org project.