NJ state senator proposes $500 gas tax rebate to combat high fuel prices
A New Jersey state senator says that he has the answer to the rising price of gasoline – a $500 tax rebate.
Republican state Sen. Edward Durr still works as a truck driver. He says that it costs his company about $500 to fill its big rig.
There is mounting frustration and anger over the price of gasoline. The average price for gasoline as of Monday is $4.25 nationwide and $4.21 in New Jersey.
“I’m on a fixed budget, so yeah, it’s tough,” says Susan Hemdal, of West Deptford. “You got to take it out of somewhere else.”
Durr says that New Jersey should use its funds to help offset the costs. The state has more than $4 billion in extra revenue.
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“I know what they think up there. They think this guy doesn’t belong here. He’s a truck driver, you know? He didn’t go to college,” Durr says.
Durr shocked Trenton and the country when he unexpectedly defeated powerful Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney last November. Now, sitting in the same office where Sweeney presided over a political empire, Durr says drivers should get a $500 state tax rebate.
“We overtaxed $4.5 billion, so it’s their money anyway. It’s not like I’m giving them something. They’re getting back their money,” Durr says.
In Durr's own district, the distrust of government that helped propel him into office means some residents believe any government help comes with a catch.
“I'm just going to pay for it somewhere else…if they give it to you and say, ‘Oh we're going to give you this tax rebate.’ Then…I get my income taxes done, and somehow, I'm paying for it,” says Hemdal.
Gov. Phil Murphy’s office says the governor does not comment on pending legislation. Murphy did hold a press conference last month in support of a package of bills to lower prescription drug costs.
Durr says a Democratic plan to pause the state gas tax for 60 days is not realistic. A 2016 law mandated that the gas tax amount be calculated based on pre-set funding targets for repairing bridges and roads.