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New year means new laws

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 01 2014 05:02:15 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 03 2014 11:02:23 AM CST

New year means new laws

The new year has begun and so have some new laws.

The new laws and changes affect things like gasoline prices and toll rates for Pennsylvania residents.

But in places like New Jersey it means a bigger paycheck for a quarter million workers.

Nationally, it means changes in healthcare costs.

For those who were able to sign up for health care under the Affordable Care Act, coverage started on January 1. For millions of others, there's still time to sign up without a penalty.

But missing the March 31st deadline could cost you one percent of your household income or $95 per adult/47.50 per child, whichever is higher.

The turn of the year brings a pay raise for some workers in New Jersey, as minimum wage jumps $1 from $7.25 up to $8.25 an hour. Garden State voters approved the change in the November 2013 Election.

"Probably should go up. Everything else is going up. That's the problem…utilities, this and that," said Rick Rader, a Phillipsburg resident.

"Everybody deserves a chance. If I had it my way, it would be 10 dollars an hour, minimum wage," said Corrine Fallon, a New Jersey resident.

"I started at $5.50 now it's up to $8.25. Good idea to go up to $8.25 an hour," said Raymond Patt, a Phillipsburg resident.

The new minimum law also accounts for increased living expenses, with a pay increase every September.

On the flip side, new legislation in Pennsylvania will be affecting paychecks in a different way.

Thanks to new taxes implemented under the state's Transportation Bill, Pennsylvania driver's will see the price of a gallon of gasoline jump nine cents.

"You have to drive for a living. Will it change how I drive? Probably not," said Mel Lencet, a Bethlehem resident

"Nine cents a gallon? That hurts a lot," said Richard Robinson, a Salisbury Township resident.

The allocated $2 billion will help fund road, bridge, and transit improvements in Pennsylvania.

"We have lived in Pennsylvania our whole lives. We know what roads and bridges are like here, and if they improve that's great. We are happy to see that happen. Keep it safer for us and our kids," said Tim Dooner, an Emmaus resident.

But some believe it will just send drivers to Jersey.

"New Jersey and Phillipsburg gas stations will get a lot more business," Rader said.

"I'll be going to Jersey to buy gas," Robinson said.

Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls are also increasing. Starting Sunday, cash customers will see a spike of about 12 percent and E-ZPass users will see a hike of about two percent.

Officials said it will help improve the turnpike and allow the Turnpike Commission to meet its state funding obligations.