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Christie and Lt. Gov. Guadagno feud over N.J. gas tax

Thursday, October 27, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Aidan Sander
Share | 10/27/16

In a break from a usually low-key public relationship, Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday openly chastised his lieutenant governor over comments she made related to his controversial decision to hike New Jersey's gas tax. Earlier this month, Christie, a Republican, signed a law that will raise the state's gas tax 23 cents a gallon to pay for transportation projects. But during a radio interview Thursday morning, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadango — who has been a vocal opponent of the gas tax — said she is also against a question on next month's ballot asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would dedicate all revenue from the tax to infrastructure funding. "You cannot vote for the question. You just can't," Guadagno, a likely Republican candidate for governor next year, said during an hour-long appearance on New Jersey 101.5-FM. "That's the only way to go back and look at where all the money is going."

That prompted Christie's spokesman, Brian Murray, to release a sharply worded statement questioning Guadango's remarks. "The governor supports ballot question 2 because it will ensure that all gas tax revenues can only be spent on roads, bridges, and mass transit," Murray said. "This protects taxpayers from future wasteful spending by Democrat legislators. The governor finds it hard to believe that the lieutenant governor supports giving an unguarded pot of money to the Democrat-controlled Legislature, rather than on needed infrastructure projects. It must be a misunderstanding." Guadagno was one of a few Republicans who opposed the hike, saying earlier this month she's against raising taxes "for any reason."

State Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, who brokered the gas tax deal with Christie, also rebuked Guadango comments. "The lieutenant governor seems to have a complete and total misunderstanding of the ballot question, which is very troublesome," Prieto (D-Hudson) said in a statement. "The lieutenant governor doubles as the secretary of state, who is in charge of our elections. Has our elections chief even read the ballot question?" Experts say Guadango is the early favorite for the 2017 Republican nomination to succeed Christie, whose second and final term is up at the end of next year.

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