New Jersey lawmakers clash over Ballot Question No. 2

New Jersey's lawmakers are clashing over the fate

New Jersey's lawmakers are clashing over the fate of the state's gas tax money. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

TRENTON - Some of New Jersey’s leaders are clashing over whether or not to support a question on the November ballot, and it’s leaving many residents confused.

Ballot Question No. 2 refers to the state’s gas tax and where that money will go. The question asks, "Do you approve amending the Constitution to dedicate all revenue from the State motor fuels tax and petroleum products gross receipts tax to the Transportation Trust Fund?"

Those who say to vote “Yes” on the question, including New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, say that it is the only way to keep the gas tax money for transportation projects only.

But Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno says the question will also authorize officials to borrow up to $12 billion more for the transportation fund, putting the state in further debt. Guadagno had led the charge on Twitter and in interviews to urge voters to vote No.

Sweeney says that the lieutenant governor doesn’t have a funding plan of her own.

"She's been silent for seven years watching this administration raid the Turnpike Authority, the Parkway, the bridge, the toll hikes, and stood by silently when all these authorities raised tolls, which…is a tax on commuters,” Sweeney says. “To all of a sudden now say she's against this, she's a little bit late."

The ballot question does not have a direct effect on the gas tax hike, which went into effect Nov. 1.

State records show that supporters of the amendment have put nearly $1.6 million behind the effort. The Election Law Enforcement Commission on Wednesday published reports showing a labor-business group called Forward NJ has raised about $636,000 in support of the question. That's in addition to nearly $1 million from the Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative in support of the question.

Gov. Christie is also a supporter of the plan. His office says that Guadagno must misunderstand the issue.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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