Monday, November 07, 2005

Two public questions on the ballot Tuesday

The public is being asked to respond to two ballot questions. The New Jersey State League of Women Voters (LWV) has provided a detailed analysis and background information for each question. We have excerpted the following from their web site:

Public Question # 1: Constitutional Amendment to Establish the Office of Lieutenant Governor

Reasons to vote YES on the ballot question:
  • Provides for separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches, a fundamental principle in our form of democratic government.
  • The Lieutenant Governor, like the Governor, has a statewide constituency, unlike the present succession process.
  • Establishing another statewide elected office opens up the electoral process to others to serve and gain statewide recognition and experience.
  • The amendment provides for a smooth transition without disruption of policy or change in party if the Governor leaves office.

Reasons to vote NO on the ballot question:

  • Fiscal impact is unknown since appointment to an existing executive position is not mandated.
  • Separation of powers could be achieved by requiring current succession process to include the legislative leader resigning his/her legislative seat.
  • The office is diminished in purpose and desirability without the guarantee of fulfilling the four-year term.
  • A mid-term election could prove costly and disruptive because nominees would have to be selected and placed on the ballot within as little as 60 days.

Public Question # 2: Constitutional Amendment to Expand uses of Dedicated Tax Revenue to Fund air Pollution Control and Administrative Costs of the Underground Storage Tank Program

Reasons to vote YES on the ballot question:

  • Cutting diesel pollution, which causes respiratory illnesses and trigger asthma attacks, will improve New Jersey's air and citizen's health. Thirteen New Jersey counties exceed soot pollution levels mandated by the EPA.
  • The retrofit of public diesel-powered fleets is estimated to reduce over 400 tons of soot pollution annually-about 10 percent of the total.
  • No new taxes are raised to fund this initiative.

Reasons to vote NO on the ballot question:
  • Opposition to the question focuses on the financial measures being used, not the need. Constitutional dedication for narrower and more specifically defined purposes leads to a rigid and inflexible tax structure making it more difficult for elected legislators to respond to changing conditions and needs.
  • Once the constitutionally dedicated money is no longer needed for its original purpose, it should be returned to the general treasury to meet current budgetary needs.

To read the entire piece on the LWV site, click here.