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NJ Voters to Decide Two Public Questions Today

Mercer County voters have a third question upon which they must decide.

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

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

There is also a third question just for Mercer County voters.

The two statewide 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.

The Mercer County question reads:

Shall the County of Mercer allocate funds raised for the County Open Space Recreation, Farmland and Historic Trust Fund as follows:

  • allow at least 70% of the amount raised by the existing levy for preservation of parks, farmland and other open space;
  • allow up to 20% of the amount raised by the existing levy for recreational development and / or historic preservation;
  • allow up to 10% of the amount raised by the existing levy for stewardship of the land.

The "interpretive statement" on that county questions reads:

This proposition does not increase the voter approved levy beyond .03 per $100 of equalized valuation. The actual assessed levy is determined annually by the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders as part of the budgeting process. Approval of this proposition would allow the county to continue to: acquire land for open space, conservation, and farmland preservation and provide improvements; to enhance active and passive recreational activities and to preserve and restore historic structures and sites.

It allocates funds raised among: land acquisition, park improvements/historic preservation and stewardship activities including but not limited to activities that foster habitat protection and restoration, wildlife management, forest and grasslands management, educational programming, and retaining additional personnel if necessary.

 

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