N.J. Split on Statewide Ballot Questions

New Jersey voters decided Tuesday to put tighter restrictions on how the state borrows money

New Jersey voters decided Tuesday to put tighter restrictions on how the state borrows money.

But they also rejected a measure that would have allowed local officials, rather than the governor, to appoint joint municipal judges who serve multiple communities.

With about 76 percent of votes counted, the borrowing question was backed by 57 percent of voters, while 43 percent opposed it. The judicial appointments question was rejected by 55 percent of voters.

Proponents of the borrowing measure noted that state officials have often been able to get around Constitutional requirements that mandated voter approval when the Legislature and governor wanted to borrow money. They said the changes were needed to ensure that voters have the final say on such fiscal matters.

The measure approved Tuesday night still allows authorities to borrow without voter approval if the debt is paid off with fees, like the tolls charged by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. It also won't apply if there's a constitutionally dedicated revenue stream to service the debt, such as the gasoline tax dollars that go toward the Transportation Trust Fund Authority.

The measure to change the way some judges were appointed had been backed by the New Jersey League of Municipalities. They said not only would it help towns work together, but it also gave more control to local officials.

State law mandated that shared municipal judges had to be appointed by the governor and approved by the state Senate. The ballot question would have allowed the Legislature to create methods for local officials to appoint judges even when more than one town is involved.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us