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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.

Hobbs November 05, 2012 at 11:27 AM
In addition Hoboken voters will be asked to decide to move City elections to November and end runoff elections. They will also get to chose three School Board members. I would encourage them to vote YES on questions 1 & 3 and continue the progress the Kids First team of Kluepfel, Mitchell and McAllister.
Jon November 05, 2012 at 12:52 PM
In the Building Our Future Bond Act the state is BORROWING $750million and GIVING it to schools. From where will the state get the $750million (PLUS interest) to PAY BACK this LOAN? Sorry for the stray punctuation marks below. Patch on BlackBerry won't let me delete them. ”,
Mark Ruckhaus November 05, 2012 at 07:13 PM
NO on #1 and YES on #2. Just what NJ needs to do--borrow more. Plus, we've never gotten an accounting of the Rutgers-Rowan re-arrangement. First things first before the state gets the second. As far as our poor widdle (sic) judges... I'll hide behind some of that "legalese" and say that their salary isn't being lowered as they're still being paid the same. After all, if a judge was making $150,000 a year, he still will be. Now, maybe his "effective salary" will be lowered. But his salary will still be the same. Hey, these guys will dot every "I" and cross every "T." And so will I. Let 'em pay for their bennies like the rest of us.
Edward Wang November 05, 2012 at 07:37 PM
That's right! 1. How to get rid of JCP&L from NJ, and 2. Who to vote off of the Bernard township boards. The second is an easy one considering they have all been useless when it comes to power restoration.
Walter O. November 06, 2012 at 12:04 AM
On the fence regarding #1. Would love to see legislature requiring keeping tuition down and more affordable attached to this question in order for it to pass. As for #2, we should all vote yes! Its about time these guys contribute to their retirement, they don't work that hard and when they do they're always postponing rulings till later or asking lawyers to come to an agreement. What good are they if they can't make a decision one way or another in a timely manner!
Patriot November 06, 2012 at 12:59 AM
1. No.......No more borrowing...we must not incur more debt. 2. Yes, in these poor economic times, Judges should contribute to their benefits. Vote for ROMNEY and RYAN .... RESTORE OUR COUNTRY!
David Sudranski November 06, 2012 at 01:57 AM
If one takes a loan shouldn't the one loaning the funds be very strict on how the money will be used? If the money will not be used in a manner that will result in growth what should motivate the institution to loan the money at all? In question #1 the public is being asked to loan money to the government so they can GIVE it to universities so that they may expand and teach more in order to produce more income earners which ought to increase the tax base and pay back the loan and the interest. The question I have is where is the return on the investment? What would entrap the well educated students that the college produces in the state of New Jersey? Won’t other states be competing for the well educated students that our state will theoretically produce and draw them away? In my opinion every instance where public money is given away as a grant there should be some tether to the recipient that requires them to return the value of that grant. In this case I don't see how such a tether can be made since the college is the recipient of the grant and the only way for it to return the money to the public would be to raise the cost of the education it provides or somehow force a student who attends to remain in New Jersey to produce tax revenue. The latter will never happen and the former will only result in the cost of education increasing ever more.
David Sudranski November 06, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Question #2 The question begs clarification. Did the Judges have to contribute at all before the bill was signed? If they didn’t then making them pay it now would be decreasing their salaries. Whoever agreed to such a deal wasn’t looking out for us, the tax payer. On the other hand if they did have to contribute some to begin with and now they have to contribute more the following question needs to be answered before I can make a decision. What was the cause of the increase in the amount that the Judges contribute towards their benefits? If the cost of the benefits increased and the Judges are required to pay a percentage of the cost, than even with the increase in contributions the value of their salary would not decrease and they should be required to pay. However, if the cost of their benefits did not increase and the governor simply wants them to pay a higher percentage that would be reducing the judges salary and they should not be required to pay. Again that is a rotten deal.
Rona November 06, 2012 at 03:12 AM
If they want money vote no! Send a message fiscal responsibility. If they want it in one place get it from another. Otherwise this state is surely headed to ruin.
FGump November 06, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Hold em in contempt, Vote yes
Nose Wayne November 06, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Question #1, NO,NO,NO, Who is going to pay back $750 million ? The TAXPAYERS !!!!. Question #2, That's a no brainer, YES,YES,YES !!!! They are making over $100,000, they should pay like the rest of us.
James Martino November 06, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Vote No on Referendum number 1 if you want to keep college affordable. In an internet world where communication, social interaction and learning are moving at a rapid pace to a digital medium, the Trustees of Universities seem blind to the most powerful movement of our generation. We do not need more brick and mortar yet every University is laying brick and mortar at a rapid pace. With every dollar of Capital Expense to build it, we get years of operating expense to clean it, maintain it, heat it etc. Who really thinks that in 10 or 20 years, college students are going to get up at 8am to walk across a cold campus in order to view a lecture and take notes by hand? Nobody, we do not need more buildings and operating expense, we need a fair price for a higher education which does not require parents to sell their homes or raid their retirement accounts so that some Provost can get his picture in the paper breaking new ground on another Library to hold, get this, paper books.
tryintosurvive November 06, 2012 at 01:47 PM
I see this ad on TV that says NJ spends the least among states for public colleges. Seems impossible to believe. Must be creative accounting. I live close to Montclair State. They have done many many millions of dollars in construction over the last 5 years. They have built luxury dorms, multiple parking decks, elegant theaters and countless other buildings. The expense must have been enormous. All this while churning out thousands of teachers each year who can't find jobs when they graduate. Now they want the state to borrow money to do more of this. Please.
The Mud Lady November 06, 2012 at 02:21 PM
#1 - There are way too many questions on how this borrowed money will be spent. Vote No. #2 Teachers and other public employees have always contributed and have recently had to contribute more. Nobody should feel bad for judges who make a boatload; they should be treated like the rest. And although I don't know the details of their benefits, I'm sure they're very generous. Someone can correct me on that if I'm wrong.
DK November 06, 2012 at 07:13 PM
@tryintosurvive: The dorms you are referring to were built privately due to budget constraints. This article explains it pretty well: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/blog/private_dorms.php I have no doubt that the educational institutions are in need of additional funding. It is also clear that countless other industries in this state that are in the same boat, and, with the devastation last week, the need is only growing. We can only hope that the NJ brain trust can allocate the resources efficiently to produce a return on our (the taxpayers') investment. This is probably not the opportune time to dump money into education. Improvements to infrastructure and shovel-ready jobs would make more sense.
Abraham November 06, 2012 at 07:53 PM
james however brick and mortar will always mean investment,most of these colleges rent out space for funtions of all kinds especially to online universities, owning a small township within a township is allways profitable in the long run.Don't forget the students will help pay back this beautifaction loan, although some argue its a technological upgrade.I just wish MSU offered its reources to montclair school district .
Abraham November 06, 2012 at 07:54 PM
sorry for mispelled Functions
Abraham November 06, 2012 at 07:58 PM
forgive spelling
Abraham November 06, 2012 at 08:02 PM
sorry for mispelled words
David Sudranski November 06, 2012 at 08:26 PM
If it's a worthwhile investment where the university will get a return on investment by renting the space then the university ought to be able to fund itself with a loan. Tax payers don't need to beer involved. Vote no!
Belleville Sentinel November 07, 2012 at 04:14 AM
CONGRATULATIONS PRESIDENT OBAMA, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!!!!!

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