Gas tax hike: What does Ballot Question No. 2 mean?

New Jersey will see a 23-cent gas tax increase starting Nov. 1 after a bill approved by state lawmakers was signed by Gov. Chris Christie earlier this month

Garden State residents will be able to decide how that money is spent come Election Day by voting on Ballot Question No. 2. But there is some confusion as to what the question really means.

"Ballot Question No. 2 is not about raising the gas tax. Chris Christie and the Legislature have already raised your gas tax, and it's going to go up Nov. 1 23 cents a gallon," says Seton Hall Political Science Associated Professor Matthew Hale.

The ballot 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?"

"If you want to lock in how your gas tax money is spent you vote 'Yes.' If you want some flexibility in how that tax is spent vote 'No,'" says Hale.

Voting "Yes" means the New Jersey government can only spend gas tax money on transportation-related items.

Hall says that people who are voting "No" on the ballot argue that the question lets lawmakers borrow more money in the future.

"The money that they borrow on top of what's in the transportation trust fund could be even more," Hale says. "It's essentially that the money that would go in would be used as collateral for even bigger debts.

The most recent Fairleigh Dickinson University poll on the question found that 46 percent of New Jersey residents will vote yes and 39 percent will vote now. Fifteen percent of the population say they remain undecided.

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