Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's simple: Put hike in gasoline tax on the November ballot

The Record's Peter Sampson, the reporter assigned to the Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack, above, is covering the federal corruption trial of onetime Democratic Party chief Joseph Ferriero in Newark. Kibret Markos has been shifted from the Passaic County Courthouse in Paterson to cover court stories in Hackensack. Are readers being shortchanged?


When Governor Christie vetoed a hike in the state's minimum wage, proponents put a constitutional amendment on the ballot, and prevailed.

The same thing happened when the GOP bully threatened funds to acquire open space.

Now, The Record is declaring doomsday has arrived for a gasoline-tax hike to fund road, bridge and rail repairs in the Garden State (A-1).

Why not put a hike in the nation's second-lowest gas tax on the November ballot and let voters decide?

That would take the debate away from The Record and other media who love to stir up controversy instead of condemning the state fiscal crisis caused by Christie's rigid stance against any kind of tax increase.

And it would silence the crackpots who run Americans for Tax Reform and motorist groups that oppose a gas-tax increase to boost the state Transportation Trust Fund (A-7).

Hiking the gasoline tax would put the burden of fixing roads and bridges on the drivers who use them most, including the thousands of out-of-state residents who tear up the turnpike and parkway.

More corrections

Three more corrections appear on A-2 today, evidence that six-figure Production Editor Liz Houlton and the copy editors she supervises aren't doing their jobs.

Houlton was promoted from chief of the features copy desk, even though she earned the title of "Queen of Errors" for failing to correct repeated spelling and other mistakes in her sections.

Crappy food group

The Record's Business section gives major coverage to the merger of Kraft Foods Group with H.J. Heinz, even though neither has plants in New Jersey.

The merger certainly isn't consumer news, because executives promise billions in cuts from shedding employees and other expenses.

Nowhere do Kraft or Heinz promise to improve the quality of the crappy processed food they sell.

They would form the third-largest food and beverage company in North America.

BIGLIE plate

The Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers is suggesting Staff Writer John Cichowski apply for a personalized license plate, such as HASBEEN, BIGLIE or IMKIDNG.

Houlton, the production editor, plays a big role in allowing publication of the literally hundreds of errors that have appeared in Cichowski's column in recent years -- few of which are ever corrected --including a boner in his Sunday column on personalized license plates.

Cichowski reported the NJMETTS plate is "fastened to the bumpers of two Toyotas residing in Rutherford with Bill and Shirley Metts" (Sunday's A-4), but it would be illegal for the couple to have the same plate on two cars.

They don't, however, as readers could plainly see from the Page 1 photo that ran with the Road Warrior column.

It's Houlton's job, as supervisor of the news and copy editors, to reconcile such blatant factual conflicts from a reporter who has clearly lost it.

And her refusal to correct them further erodes the credibility of the Woodland Park daily.


Road Warrior's license to commit errors


  1. Apparently no gas tax will be implemented under Christie while NJ's roads and bridges crumble. He kicks the can down the road until after 2016 when he will finally be replaced. Of course there can be no taxes while Christie ponders his Presidential run, with Record reporters and columnists hanging on his every word. If Christie wanted revenue enhancement, he would call any increases "user fees", the way he justifies toll increases.

    1. Definitely. Amazing how drivers swallowed PA toll hikes without an insurrection.

  2. Unfortunately, it is likely that voters would vote down a gas tax hike as polling has continually shown they are against a gas tax hike, even as NJ roads and infrastructure crumble, since they feel they are already overtaxed and the gas tax hike revenues would somehow be used for other purposes in the state budget as has happened frequently in the past.

    There has been recent legislature proposals for a popular amendment, which would be decided by voters at the next state election, to the state constitution that would require that revenues from any gas taxes could only be used for road projects.


If you want your comment to appear, refrain from personal attacks on the blogger. Anonymous comments are no longer accepted. Keep your racism to yourself.