Who’s on Two? ?>

Who’s on Two?

Details of the effects of New Jersey ballot question are here.  No mystery. I concluded to vote NO on Two.  Who shares my view?  Who supports Two?  And most telling, who is keeping silent?

Proponents of NJ Question Two (the “lockbox”)

You may have gotten an email, a flyer, or a robo-call asking for your support on Q2.  This public relation campaign, $1.6 million dollars’ worth, is being paid for by a group of interested business associations.

Business organizations

Dedication of the gas tax allows the state to borrow $12 billion.  The money to spend will be available faster than if we waited for collections.  That’s an advantage to contractors and engineering companies who want the business.

ForwardNJ and RoadToRepair are two faces of a group representing among others, the New Jersey Asphalt Paving Association, the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey, and the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA).  Their motivation is simple.  The faster money is available, the faster they can start work.

To that coalition, we can add AAA NJ.  In what appears to be a simple devotion to NJ roads, AAA is in favor of the lockbox and increased debt for New Jersey.

Americans For Prosperity, a Koch financed group, has declared its advocacy for NJ Q2.  AFP has taken a national stance in favor of lockbox legislation.  In an email to me, the NJ chapter chief says:

AFP is vehemently opposed to the TTF spending authorization, precisely because three-fourths is new debt.  However, we have looked at this ballot question exhaustively, and a vote against the referendum does not prevent the State from borrowing.  There are still other avenues the State could (and likely will) pursue to borrow the money.

On the other hand, if Q2 goes down, the legislature could take the petro tax dollars and use it for anything in the budget.  The better policy is to make sure those dollars only go to roads and bridges.

Americans for Tax Reform also endorsed Q2.

Newspaper Editorial Boards

The Newark Star Ledger and all the Gannett papers in New Jersey — Asbury Park Press, The Record of Bergen County, Courier News of Bridgewater, Courier-Post of Cherry Hill, Home News Tribune of East Brunswick, Daily Record of Morristown,  The Daily Journal of Vineland, and Herald News of Woodland Park — have come out in favor of Q2.

Most of the editorials do not describe the borrowing that arises from Q2.  Whether this was deliberate or simply an oversight, I don’t know.

Vocal Politicians

Vincent Prieto (D-Bergen and Hudson) is in favor.  He appears with the Forward NJ group.  His district stands to gain from expansion of the Hudson Bergen Light Rail.

Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen and Passaic) is a construction company executive.

Chris Christie (R-Gov NJ) is in favor of Q2.

Raymond Pocino (Commissioner NJTPA and PANYNJ) and VP of Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) is also in favor of Q2.

Steve Sweeney, (D-Gloucester and Salem) supports Q2 because it facilitates Light Rail projects.

Phil Murphy Democratic Candidate for Governor

Opponents of NJ Question Two (the “lockbox”)

There is no funded opposition to NJ Q2.  No one will make money from a pay-as-you go policy.  Nonetheless there are supporters of a “Vote No On Two” stance.

Bill Spadea of NJ 101.5.  Bill has used his radio show to discuss the implications of Q2 and the effects of additional NJ state debt.

Kim Guadagno, (R-Lieutenant Governor NJ) in a very visible split with her boss Chris Christie has come out in opposition to Q2.  She fears an increase of 24% in the state debt that will arise if Q2 passes.

Ray Lesniak (D-Union) is opposed to Q2.

Rudy Rullo, Republican candidate for NJ governor in 2017, is opposed to Q2.

Leonard Lance, US Congressman (R-NJ07), dedication is good, but borrowing would happen without voter approval.

Ocean County Politics — an online blog, is opposed to Q2

Ocean City Patch –an online blog is opposed to Q2

Gail Phoebus (R-Sussex)

Parker Space (R-Sussex)

Mike Doherty  (R-Hunterdon, Warren, Somerset)

Silent Legislators

The list of legislators who voted on the gas tax itself is here.  Most are keeping mum about their position on Q2.  For them, borrowing is easier than coming to NJ voters and asking for a gas tax increase.  The legislature is already taking heat about the gas tax.  Exposing one’s position on Q2 is dangerous.  Borrowing is a way to kick the can down the road.

Ask your legislators where they stand.

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