In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, along with the question about the leadership of the United States, New Jersey’s voters will have two expensive public questions before them when they go to the polls on Tuesday.
In Question No. 1, voters are being asked to approve a $750 million bond issue for state public and private universities.
Philly.com supports a YES vote on the question, noting that New Jersey hasn't passed a bond issue for higher education in nearly 25 years, while college funding has taken considerable hits in recent years. The funding would be used to expand classroom and lab space, and community colleges would also benefit.
The bond money also helps Rutgers University to compete with the top public research universities in the U.S.
Montclairnjusa.org notes that it may not be wise to take on more debt during economic hard times. Also, the amount is restricted in its use, as not all school projects will be eligible for grants.
Question No. 2 would amend New Jersey’s constitution to allow more contributions from state judges and justices toward employee pensions and health care. The question wants justices and judges to be subject to the same reforms as public employees.
Gretchen Barrett of Phillyburbs.com supports voting YES on Question No.2, saying reform laws for public employees should also apply to judges. Rutgers' Daily Targum also says YES, citing accountability and transparency, and says no one should receive special treatment.
Montclairnjusa.org says a no vote might be considered here because judges are prohibited from earning additional income, do not receive salary or benefits increases, and are treated differently because of their position in deciding cases.
According to West Deptford Patch, an October poll from Rutgers-Eagleton says that 62 percent of respondents support and 27 percent oppose the education bond. 70 percent of those responding were in favor of the judicial benefits question, while 18 percent opposed it.