New Jerseyans are facing a nearly 25% tax increase in the cost of natural gas this winter. Now, two state senators are trying to relieve the financial pains associated with the hike.
Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Declan O’Scanlon have introduced legislation to prevent state revenue from benefiting at the expense of struggling families as natural gas heating costs increase by as much as 25 percent.
This week, the Senators introduced legislation (S-3354) to create a moratorium on the sales tax on natural gas and electricity for residential customers during the winter months.
“The Board of Public Utilities approved the massive price hike, and the State unfairly profits from the high cost of home heating,” said Pennacchio (R-24). “It is not fair to families who are already struggling in a threatening fiscal environment. We won’t tolerate the State reaping revenue rewards from detrimental price hikes that compound the financial pressures on residents who are already staggering in the face of out-of-control inflation and run-away interest rates.”
The state’s regulators approved double-digit rate hikes for four gas providers serving millions of customers on October 1. When PSE&G, the largest utility in New Jersey, increased gas rates by 25 percent, almost 2 million customers were affected.
Residents served by Elizabethtown Gas, New Jersey Natural Gas, and South Jersey Gas will also face increased energy costs.
“Adding sales tax on top of the exploding rates rubs salt in the wounds for state residents who are caught in an economic whirlpool,” said O’Scanlon (R-13). “Families are being hit from all sides, with inflation driving up the cost of food and gasoline, and climbing inter rates impacting the price of housing, automobiles, and credit card purchases. People are desperate for some relief, and this bill is a step in the right direction.”
According to an article published by Time last month, this winter’s heating and energy expenses will increase due to a global energy crisis and the fastest inflation growth in 40 years.
The article projects that natural gas bills will increase by up to 34 percent for families who heat their homes with natural gas.
Electricity users may expect to see a 7 percent increase, with the average cost of the less efficient option rising to $1,328.