I voted "no" on Public Question No. 1, which allows New Jersey to borrow $750 million to fund grants to New Jersey institutions of higher learning so they can build and improve their facilities. The measure passed, and now, over the next 20 years or so, New Jersey will have to come up with about $1 billion of additional tax revenue in order to repay those bonds and the interest that they accrue. That aspect of the initiative was never put on the ballot.
I support this program and would have voted "yes" if it had been implemented in a different manner. Had the measure asked whether New Jersey should impose a 7 percent surcharge on the gross income tax (if you pay $3,000 per year to New Jersey in income taxes, you would pay an additional $210) and use the proceeds of the surcharge to fund these grants, I would have supported it. New Jersey would have raised enough money within the next year to implement the program without having to borrow another dime.
The problem is that such a measure would have most likely been defeated, as the vast majority of people would never have voted to voluntarily and directly raise their taxes to fund it. But wake up, citizens. That is exactly what you did when you voted "yes" on this measure. But instead of paying for it today, you are leaving the responsibility to a future generation.
I understand that there may be sound financial reasons to borrow the money today, especially when borrowing costs are so cheap, but people need to pay for the programs they want. And if you are not willing to pay for them, then do not vote to fund them. That is why those people who can afford to leave New Jersey for Florida or Arizona do so. They do it to avoid having to pay for the programs they voted to fund years before. Essentially they skip town and leave the rest of us to foot their bill.
ROBERT P. LANG