In a deal announced Friday, Sept. 30, NJ Gov. Chris Christie and legislative leaders ended their impasse on transportation funding.  The deal will increase the state's tax on gasoline by 23 cents per gallon, while reducing the state sales tax by one-eighth of one percent in 2017 and a further 1/4 of one percent in 2018, bringing the tax down to 6.625% at that point.  The agreement also eliminates the estate tax, eases taxes on retirement income, creates a tax deduction for veterans, and increases the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income taxpayers. The package seems to have something for everyone, although the total three-eighths of one percent sales tax reduction falls short of the full one percent the Governor had demanded in exchange for the increase in the gas tax.  Democrats said such a decrease would blow a big hole in the state's budget.

The gas tax increase is designed to replenish the state's Transportation Trust Fund; Gov. Christie said it would usher in a new era of $16 billion investment in the state's transportation infrastructure. The fund ran out of money months ago and work had been suspended on a long list of projects statewide, although "emergency" repairs could still move forward.

Reporting on the deal at by Samantha Marcus and Susan K. Livio can be found here.