Election day is finally upon us, and while that may sound like a doomsday sentence from a national sense, it’s important to tune out the circus and think about the questions our state has on the ballot that will surely impact our immediate future.
There are two statewide questions that will appear on your ticket. How they function is very simple, you either vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and the majority wins.
1) North Jersey Casinos
Question 1 is in regards to the gambling industry.
If passed, it would allow two new casinos to be built in northern New Jersey with the intent of assisting revenue growth, and dedicating some of that revenue to help Atlantic City. However, we don’t know the tax rate, or where exactly the money would be going.
Supporters believe it will increase revenue by helping catch revenue being used in other states, create jobs, and assist Atlantic City.
The opposition believes that it would make Atlantic City struggle even more, and divert revenue away from the crumbling city. As a result forcing people out of southern Jersey. They also make the argument that it will only benefit special interests and not citizens.
The Asbury Park Press has pledged its support for gambling in north Jersey previously, but have come out in opposition to this proposal and said that “the ballot question that will be presented to voters on Nov. 8, which would allow two casinos to be built in North Jersey, leaves too many unanswered questions to warrant support.”
The Bernardsville news has believes people should vote 'yes' saying, “In the case of the North Jersey casino gaming referendum, those annoying anti-casino ads are being paid for largely by New York and Pennsylvania casino companies, including those owned by overseas interests, who are afraid that North Jersey gamblers will go to the Meadowlands instead of driving to their Pennsylvania slot halls or New York gambling sites."
2) Gas Tax
The second question on the ballot also has a lot of controversy surrounding it at the moment, and it's imperative that all voters fully understand what the proposal actually is, as well as both the long and short-term consequences of the decision.
This week, a 23 cent gas tax increase went into effect in the state of New Jersey. The reason for this tax is because the Transportation Trust Fund is out of money, resulting in a stoppage of over 1,000 road projects this summer. To put it simply, the gas tax sucks — but right now it’s necessary to keep our roads at a functioning level.
The tax is here to stay. This is a point that I need to make as clear as possible. I have seen people make the argument that voting ‘no’ would get rid of the tax, or force some form of reconsideration or negotiation. That is utterly false. It’s signed into law and isn’t going anywhere.
On the ballot, voting ‘yes’ on question two “would create a constitutional requirement that all revenue derived from taxes on motor fuels be deposited into the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). Currently, only 10.5 cents of the gasoline and diesel fuel taxes is required to be deposited into the TTF." This means that it would not allow funds from the gas tax to be diverted elsewhere.
Voting ‘no’ on the ballot would allow money to be taken out and used for other services. Essentially, we are voting on how the money raised from our gas tax will be allocated. If you want that money to be used only partially on the gas tax (the way it currently is) then vote no. Or if you believe that the money raised by the gas tax should be spent solely on transportation projects, vote yes.