- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 20, 2015

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - Opposition persists among most New Jersey residents to raising the tax on gasoline even if it means they’ll get a break in death taxes.

A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Tuesday finds 57 percent of residents surveyed are against raising the 14.5-cent gas tax for any reason compared with 37 percent who would support an increase.

Raising the gas tax is seen as one of the ways for the state to address its beleaguered transportation trust fund, but Gov. Chris Christie has said any increase should be tied to a cut in estate and inheritance taxes.

The survey found 31 percent of the respondents said they would be more likely to support a gas tax increase if it was linked to lower death taxes compared to 44 percent who would not.

The telephone survey of 835 adults has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

Christie has said all options are on the table when it comes to the fund that pays for road and bridge projects

He said last month that he was putting Democrats who control the Legislature on notice that he will only support increasing the gas tax if other taxes are cut. Christie did not say which taxes should be cut but mentioned the state’s estate and inheritance taxes.

That has drawn a mixed response from Democrats, including some who said that could result in no additional revenue being raised. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, chairman of the transportation committee, called it “absurd.”

New Jersey and Maryland are the only two states with both estate and inheritance taxes. New Jersey also has the lowest threshold for an estate tax, at $675,000. The state’s inheritance tax tops out at 16 percent.

Jamie Fox, who resigned last month as transportation commissioner, has said the fund will “hit a wall” after June 2016, and the state will be unable to spend any additional money. He said he resigned because of his inability to get the transportation fund properly funded.

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