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NJ Voters to Decide Two Public Questions Tuesday

Learn more about the two statewide ballot questions on higher education bonds and judges' benefits payments.

New Jersey voters won’t just be choosing the next president on Election Day—the state has two questions on the ballot that could have an impact on your wallet.

The referendum questions deal with extra funding for colleges’ infrastructure and benefits payments for judges.

The public questions are:

#1: Do you approve the “Building Our Future Bond Act”? This bond act authorizes the State to issue bonds in the aggregate principal amount of $750 million to provide matching grants to New Jersey’s colleges and universities. Money from the grants will be used to build, equip and expand higher education facilities for the purpose of increasing academic capacity.  

#2: Do you approve an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution, as agreed to by the Legislature, to allow contributions set by law to be taken from the salaries of Supreme Court Justices and Superior Court Judges for their employee benefits?

Question #1 would provide additional funding to New Jersey’s 31 public colleges and universities, 19 county colleges and some private higher education institutions for long-term facilities needs.

Question #2 would, if approved, become a state constitutional amendment. Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law mandating that judges contribute to their benefits. A lawsuit followed and New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional. Approval of the question would override that ruling.

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey prepared a pros and cons list for each question for voters to consider.

Both questions appear on their way to approval, if a Rutgers-Eagleton poll holds true. A poll released in October indicates 62 percent support and 27 percent oppose the education bond. Seventy percent of voters support the judicial benefits question, with 18 percent opposed. At the time of the poll, the undecided voters would not change either outcome.

GTWatchdawg November 05, 2012 at 11:26 AM
and Question#3 ? Courier Post "Gloucester Twp. rule won't do much WHERE WE STAND: Township voters aren't getting a strong pay-to-play ordinance to consider". http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20121028/OPINION03/310270003/Gloucester-Twp-rule-won-t-do-much
Jason Furrer November 05, 2012 at 12:31 PM
This is CINNAMINSON Patch. Why would Cinnaminson residents vote/care about a public question that's on the ballot in Gloucester township?
theresa barnett November 05, 2012 at 01:12 PM
lift us up where we belong first , some people are still paying for their underwear on credit.i think you should give this question another four years ,but i do say yes to both questions.
GTWatchdawg November 05, 2012 at 01:56 PM
The story also appears in Gloucester Township patch. The question was asked to benefit all readers where is appears.
Lauren Burgoon November 05, 2012 at 02:36 PM
FYI: This story appears on all of our regional Patch sites (Cherry Hill, Cinnaminson, Collingswood, Gloucester Township, Haddonfield-Haddon Township, Moorestown, West Deptford) because every voter in those towns will see these questions on the ballot. The comments therefore are seen on all of those Patch sites too.
True Dat November 05, 2012 at 03:26 PM
So, GTWatchdawg, given those realities, how would you recommend GT residents vote for Question 3? Will a 'Yes' outcome (which is extremely likely) hinder future efforts to institute REAL pay-to-play reform in GT, in your opinion?
Jim November 05, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Do not vote for any spending that does not have competitive bidding not just union wages .The cost to NJ is 2-10 times more on public road and school with non noncompetitive union wages rules.We do not need more school buildings. We need less teacher going forward with the modern way to teach multiple classes remotely by computers. We can save Billion of dollars by modernizing the school system and really train our students for future jobs . We can reduce the local County and nation debt by adopting modern teaching methods
Ric November 05, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Jim, you are absolutely correct. BCC, for examples, has a good number of classes online. I suspect you will get attacked by a lot of outraged union workers, government employees, and teachers who will pretend to be ordinary citizens.
Joshua Berry November 05, 2012 at 04:28 PM
A number of people on Patch and privately have asked me about question number 3 in Gloucester Township. This is *NOT* the pay to play initiative I backed and was circulated by South Jersey Citizens that many other towns have enacted. This was put on the ballot to be a competing ballot question against ours. Unfortunately we were not able to overcome the legal roadblocks the administration put before ours to get ours on the 2012 ballot. Let me be clear: passing or rejecting this ordinance will have no impact to us or anyone else putting another pay to play ordinance on next years ballot. It if passes, council cannot enact real reform for three years but they were not going to do that anyway unless the Republicans get control over council. It also means the Dems cannot put up this measure to compete with any citizen led reform since this ordinance would already be enacted. By law, you cannot have an initiative or referendum for something that is already in place. If we place the "real" pay to play on the 2013 (or later) ballot, it would trump this one passed in 2012. The Dems could put this identical measure back on the ballot in 2014 if they wanted to. I think this is going to pass so I will not address the case if it fails. In my opinion, the Dems should have withdrawn this ordinance once we lost our appeal because now they have no future defense. To be clear: this has no effect on future citizen led real reform. In fact passing it makes it easier.
Ric November 05, 2012 at 04:50 PM
So this all boils down to repubs or dems, is that right?
Joshua Berry November 05, 2012 at 04:54 PM
@Head: I gave a more detailed reply below. The short answer is if this passes council cannot enact real reform for three years, but with this enacted it makes it easier for citizens to put real pay to play reform on the ballot. With this passed, the party has no defense against a future ballot initiative since they could not put up a competing ballot question. According to NJ law you cannot have a local ballot question for something already in effect. A "yes" vote makes it easier for future petitions, but a "no" vote sends a strong message the people saw through this ordinance. Either way, this has no negative effect on future pay to play initiatives. We could have easilly blocked this from the ballot but chose not to because of how it helps us in 2013.
Joshua Berry November 05, 2012 at 05:10 PM
No. There are many registered Democrats who backed real reform. In fact, I had an easier time getting registered Democrats to sign the original pay to play ordinance. This is not about specific party ideologies or personal affiliation. At a state or national level, neither party owns good government or corruption. Both have good and bad in them. This is down to the local GT Dem party versus reformers. In North Jersey, it is Dems who are pushing for real reform and Republicans who are fighting it. Locally, think of this as the "entrenched" trying to maintain the large sums of money vendors donate to get and keep contracts. Politically, this turned into a "Dem / GOP" battle in the press, but the reality is that most rank and file people of both parties support pay to play reform. The most common reaction people gave us when we described pay to play was "how is this still legal".
True Dat November 05, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Mr. Berry, Thanks for the two informative responses. This whole process both intrigues me, and disheartens me. Follow-up technical question for you (motivated simply by my curiosity of the process)...What could you have done to "easily block this from the ballot"?
Ric November 05, 2012 at 05:36 PM
@Joshua. Then why do you refer to democrats as dems and fail to call republicans repubs?
Joshua Berry November 05, 2012 at 05:41 PM
@Head: Unfortunately I am not at liberty to disclose those yet but we may in the future. We will just leave it at while the Gloucester Township Administration tried everthing they could to prevent our initiative (and succedded on one point out of many they tried), we intentionally chose to allow theirs to go to the people. If you want more info on what they tried, the GT patch has a lot of articles on it.
Joshua Berry November 05, 2012 at 05:56 PM
@Ric: Thanks for pointing that out. I didn't realize I did that though I frequently call republicans GOP. I'll be mindful to avoid that in the future.
John November 05, 2012 at 06:29 PM
@Ric and Joshua, I enjoyed your conversation, keep up the exchanging of ideas...have a great day
True Dat November 05, 2012 at 06:32 PM
I respect that. Your group is being forced to operate and maneuver within a corrupt, broken, politicized system. But, please, going forward, don't let your group get it the habit of too often responding with phrases such as "not at liberty", "no comment" and the like. Your group is supposed to be a beacon of transparency/disclosure, reform, good government, etc. So too many responses like that and you risk becoming, to people like me, just more of the shadowy noise of questionable motives and trustworthiness..
Vote For Romney November 05, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Are you better off than your were four years ago. Is our nation? Vote for Romney tomorrow for a real recovery and real change!
@xxLouA November 05, 2012 at 07:29 PM
I wouldn/t give them the opportunity to do anything...the vote for me is a big "NO" sorry

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