Two Public Questions on the Ballot in New Jersey
One would authorize $750 million in facilities grants for state colleges and universities; the other would force New Jersey judges to pay into their benefits. Polls say both will likely pass.
New Jersey voters won’t just be choosing the next U.S. president on Election Day. Two questions on the ballot could have an impact on their wallets, as well.
The referendums deal with extra funding for colleges’ infrastructure and benefits payments for judges.
#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 facility 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 the New Jersey 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 an October Rutgers-Eagleton poll holds true: 62 percent support passing Question 1 versus 27 percent opposed, and 70 percent of voters support the judicial benefits question versus 18 percent opposed. (At the time of the poll, there would be too few undecided voters to change either outcome.)