Ballot Question #2 is dishonest–even by Jersey standards. Christie Wall Street Republicans, and Sweeney/Prieto Big Union Democrats just hiked NJ gas tax by 61%. They want a “Yes” vote on Ballot Question #2 to pay back their big donors and make that tax hike permanent.
A “yes” vote “dedicates” all gas tax money to “the transportation system”. That sounds like a good idea to most people. However a “dedicated” tax has a special meaning to Wall Street bankers.
New Jersey’s State Constitution does requires voter approval whenever the state borrows money. When “independent” state authorities borrow money without voter approval, taxpayers have no legal or moral obligation to bail them out with tax hikes. Wall Street banks are worried that New Jersey voters will wake up and refuse to pay billions in loans that were never approved by voters.
However, taxpayers can be forced to pay debts that are secured by a “dedicated” tax. That is why both the Republican and Democrat establishments want you to vote “yes” vote on Ballot Question 2.
A “yes” vote on Tuesday “dedicates” all gas tax money to “the transportation system”. That new “dedicated” tax will let the insolvent NJ Transportation “Trust” Fund Authority hock future gas tax collections for the next 20 years. This would let the TTF Authority borrow another $12 billion on top of the $16 billion it previously borrowed without voter approval. Since all future tax hike money will be going to Wall Street, we will again have nothing left to build and fix roads and bridges once the borrowed money is spent. That means we will have another “crisis” with dangerous roads and bridges in just a few years.
Finally, the term “transportation system” is also a dishonest. Most people think that gas tax money pays for roads and bridges. However, billions of dollars of “transportation trust” funds restored “historic” train stations in towns like Richland where there are no trains. They built the most expensive (and usually empty) train in the country between Camden and Trenton. They built decorative brick sidewalks for an upscale park and shopping area in Toms River.
Because the $16 billion previously borrowed by the TTF Authority was never approved by voters, taxpayers have no moral or legal obligation to pay it back. We should just let the insolvent Transportation Trust Fund go bankrupt. However, a “yes” vote on Tuesday may take away that option.
This month’s 61% gas tax hike has nothing to do with fixing roads and bridges. It is all about bailing Wall Street banks out of bad loans to a mismanaged and insolvent politically corrupt agency.
It is not too late to let the TTF Authority go bankrupt and roll back the tax hike.
Wall Street Republicans and Big Union Democrats are afraid of that. That is what Ballot Question #2 is all about. It is designed to make the gas tax hike permanent by letting the TTF Authority borrow another $12 billion on top of the $16 billion it already owes. If voters approve this scheme, the gas tax hike will be permanent.
The first step is to vote “No” on Ballot Question #2. A “No” vote is the first step to rolling back the gas tax hike. A “No” vote means the State can’t borrow more money without voter approval. A “Yes” vote means more borrowing, and more tax hikes.
Seth Grossman, Executive Director