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An ongoing discussion about conservatism in New Jersey.
NJ Ballot Question
James D. Agresti  (October 29, 2010, 12:40 am)

A couple of people have asked me for an explanation of the lone NJ ballot question in the upcoming election. Typically, these are tough to parse, but the interpretative statement on the ballot helps to clarify matters. This time, however, the interpretative statement is more confusing than the actual question.

There seems to be widespread approval of this initiative on both sides of the aisle. My assemblyman (Jay Webber, a conservative) is in favor of it, as is the New Jersey Education Association (the state teacher’s union) – although they originally refused to take a position on it.

Here is a concise synopsis from a friend who is very knowledgeable on the subject:

A “Yes” vote on this question shuts the door on the State from invading unemployment compensation, disability or any other employee benefit funds. It dedicates those collected funds so they cannot be invaded nor used as security for a loan and can only be dispensed for employee benefits.

I also asked a colleague who runs a NJ policy think tank to publish a full explanation, which is here.

For one more view, the NJ League of Women Voters offers this analysis:

Reasons one might vote YES

# Passage will require that worker benefit funds be used for the purpose for which they are collected.

# Some of these worker benefit funds are currently in poor financial shape, in part because of the diversion of money collected for them. Passage would help avoid this problem in the future.

Reasons one might vote NO

# Passage will limit the ability of the Legislature to make decisions based on the State’s financial needs at any given time.

# This ballot measure does not address whether the amounts currently collected for these programs are sufficient to support the programs into the future, or whether the programs themselves should be reformed.

Personally, I plan to vote "Yes."