New Jersey: Vote Yes on Question 2

Image: Han Lee/Flickr

Question 2 is not controversial. There is no “Vote No on 2” coalition or campaign to speak of. And that’s because most New Jerseyans — like voters across the country — support the idea that money collected through gas taxes should be used for transportation purposes.

If Question 2 is passed, every penny collected through the state gas tax will go to the Transportation Trust Fund, which pays for roads, rails and bridges. If it isn’t passed, then nothing changes. The same 10.5 cents that is currently dedicated to the TTF continues to go the TTF, while the rest could be used for other purposes. It’s pretty straightforward.

But apparently some people — including even NJ Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno — are a bit confused about Question 2. Politico reports:

“A vote for question number two is a vote for the gas tax. If you like the gas tax then you’re going to like number two,” she said in reference to the ballot question. “Flip it around — if you oppose the gas tax then you have to vote against number two because it requires them all to go back to the drawing board because they can’t borrow the money they need to make it work.”

[…]

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto questioned whether the lieutenant governor had read the ballot question, saying she “seems to have a complete and total misunderstanding of the ballot question, which is very troublesome.”

“The lieutenant governor doubles as the Secretary of State, who is in charge of our elections. Has our elections chief even read the ballot question?” he said in an emailed statement.

So with this in mind, we figured we’d put it into easily digestible terms. But before we do that, we have to address the key misunderstanding related to this ballot question. Here goes:

The gas tax increase has already been signed into law. It will go into effect on November 1. This ballot question won’t change that.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about what this initiative actually means. From Ballotpedia:

Question 2 would require all revenue from tax revenues on motor fuels to be deposited into the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). The TTF was designed to fund the Department of Transportation and NJ Transit, which then use the revenue for transportation-related projects… Question 2 was intended to complement a gas tax increase. The amendment itself does not increase the gas tax. [emphasis theirs]

YES vote means you are voting in support of an amendment to the state constitution to make sure that all gas tax revenue is dedicated to the Transportation Trust Fund to pay for transportation projects.

NO vote means you are voting in support of constitutionally dedicating only a portion of the gas tax to the Transportation Trust Fund. The rest could be diverted to the general fund.

If you like the state of New Jersey’s roads, rails and bridges, then by all means, vote no. But if you think New Jersey’s transportation network could use the money that the gas tax brings in, vote yes.

15 Comments on "New Jersey: Vote Yes on Question 2"

  1. I suspect the Lieutenant Governor is referring to the clause in the TTF reauthorization bill that makes the TTF’s bonding authority contingent upon voter acceptance of the amendment. This, of course, would not repeal the gas tax or anything, but would certainly make the finances more difficult for TTF.

  2. For some reason voting yes is construed by some as giving Trenton permission to float large bonds to be repaid by these taxes. I thought that dedicating ALL the funds to TTF would eliminate the need to borrow more.

  3. Rob Durchola | October 27, 2016 at 7:34 pm |

    Good governance sugggests a “NO” vote. Lock boxes are bad public policy.

    I do support the gas tax increase; but I am against ALL constitutionally dedicated taxes/fees.

    It is the job of the Legislature in consultation with the Governor to decide which items need funding the most. Dedicating revenues may mean that some critical items do not get funded while other less critical items are funded from sources providing more revenue than anticipated. Also, dedicated revenues ebb and flow. Consider the programs that receive dedicated funding from casino taxes. Some of those programs are facing severe cuts and because they receive dedicated funding they are not being looked at carefully by the Legislature as to whether that funding is adequate.

  4. Isn’t strange that a No vote will somehow imply a stopping of the bonds for fuel tax increase that has been signed and will go into law on November 1. There is nothing indicated in the ballot question that says, bonding or an amount to be bonded. It has been under the assumption for quite some time that the 3% slush fund was never a slush fund to be used by the legislature. Not it appears, there are some who want to continue the slush fund as future wiggle room.

  5. The gas tax sucks and our politicians in Trenton should be spending the money better. They can not manage money at all. Vote GRIP. Increasing the gas tax is only going to hurt our economy

  6. The real reason for voting yes is that will allow the Governor to borrow many billion of dollars that will have to be repaid by Us the residents of the State.
    Our Governor is not truly transparent on this matter.

  7. Claudia Shaw | October 31, 2016 at 4:18 pm |

    I agree with Rob. This isn’t a constitutional issue. We must hold our elected officials accountable to adequately fund transportation safety. Commuters shouldn’t die because of negligence. The constitution is not where we need remedy.
    There are reasons to tax gas other than for transportation, and funding for transportation safety should not be tethered to this question. If it is, that’s a knot to be untied, not cemented in place.

  8. Since the tax is a done deal, in effect tomorrow November 1st, we should vote yes. The tax was passed without s vote, so if they want to put part of in on the general fund, they should have considered that before jamming it down our throats. We have gone from one of the lowest tax gas tax in the nation, to one of the highest. We are already paying an obscene amount in taxes. Don’t give them more to play with.

  9. William McMunn | October 31, 2016 at 6:32 pm |

    Vote no on#2! These dishonest politicians intensionally left out the fact that it will enable them to borrow billions that we will have to pay for , while taking care of their special interests…This gas tax that was jammed down our throat should only be used for fixing roads and bridges…not lining pockets in Trenton! People are getting very tired of these career politicians and “remember in November” for all of those who voted for this gas tax disregarding the hard working people in NJ trying to make ends meet and get them out of office!

  10. Every legislator that voted for this gas tax should be voted against in the election. Instead of working together to cut waste from the budget, they took the easy way and raise taxes.

  11. Angry Veteran | November 1, 2016 at 9:50 am |

    a quick shout out of thanks to nj politicians for causing everything we consume shipped by truck, train, airplane to rise.thus creating more tax revenue you’ll undoubtedly spend irresponsibly.want to fund infrastructure rebuilding? STOP THE ILLEGAL WAR….this would bring billions back to the american infrastructure but hey keep voting these crooks in and crooked policy we shall keep getting.

  12. Jeffrey Olah | November 1, 2016 at 1:26 pm |

    it will probably pass like most other questions because most New Jersey voters are too lazy to read it

  13. Clark Morris | November 1, 2016 at 4:32 pm |

    I agree with dedicating the fuel excise tax to transportation and further would have vehicle related taxes the only ones used for streets, roads and highways. Subsidizing transit should be out of general funds.

  14. Please vote NO! It allows them to borrow Billions of dollars that the lock box does not have to repair freight train railroads. Freight trains have nothing to do or help our roads.. who pays this money back??? We will by raising other taxes to replace the money in the lock box.. VOTE NO!!

  15. Charles Frazier | November 2, 2016 at 9:38 am |

    Vote No on Two. A vote yes will allow Gov.Christie to appoint a 4 member panel to manage these funds and use the gas tax hike as collateral to borrow billions more from large banks. We’ll be paying those loans forever. Who is to say what a transportation project is? I thought the tax was needed to fix roads and bridges. The first 11 cents is going to service debt. Now they are talking about light rails. What happened to the bridges falling down? Waste and corruption in Trenton has to end!

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