The New Jersey Legislature will not have enough money to pay its gas tax increases for the year, according to a budget bill approved Wednesday.
The bill would have the governor’s office, the state auditor and the Legislature pass a balanced budget that would have a combined $5.8 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017.
That means the Legislature would have to spend $2.2 billion on gas taxes, but not a penny of that would be for the gas tax.
Instead, the governor would have authority to increase the gas taxes by 25 cents for every $1 the state spends on public education.
The state would then pay the difference.
The gas tax would have increased by about 5 cents since the last time it was raised in 2017.
The Senate approved the budget after a two-hour marathon debate that included some strong criticism of Gov.
Chris Christie, who vetoed the budget.
It also included a provision that would require the Legislature to raise the gas revenue.
The Assembly approved the same budget in the House, but a Republican-controlled Senate is not expected to approve it.
The new spending plan would also allow Christie to appoint a deputy governor to oversee the state’s gas tax revenue.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney, R-Union, said it’s too early to tell if the bill will pass the Assembly and be signed into law by Christie.
Sweeney said he has not spoken to the governor about it, and the governor did not respond to a request for comment.
The Christie administration had argued the gas budget will be enough money for the state to pay the increases in taxes.
The governor has said he would veto any budget that doesn’t include his gas tax hike.
The budget bill includes a provision to exempt the governor from the tax hike if he or her chief of staff signs off on the plan.
Sweeney said he’s looking forward to working with the governor.
“We will make sure that we’re making sure we do it in a way that he or she approves it, because I think that’s important,” Sweeney said.
Christie vetoed the governor-appointed budget last week.
The legislation would increase the gasoline tax by 25 cent a gallon to 39 cents a gallon in June 2018, but that would not apply to the price of gasoline.
The increase would be phased in over a two year period, with the rate for the first year rising by 4 cents per gallon.
The increase in gas taxes was part of a $1.6 billion plan to boost the state economy that also included the state pension plan, a tax credit for business investment and a $25 million fund for low-income New Jerseyans to purchase health insurance.
The $1 billion increase would have raised $3.9 billion over five years, but the plan also included $500 million to boost public education, a $30 million fund to support a low-cost childcare program and a reduction in the state income tax for some middle class taxpayers.