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N.J. residents support forcing state to make pension payments, but there's a catch

Friday, June 10, 2016   (0 Comments)
Share | 06/10/16

More than 70 percent of New Jerseyans say they would vote in favor of a constitutional amendment this fall forcing the state to contribute to the public pension fund, but far fewer support that amendment if it jeopardizes funding for schools, roads or safety net programs, according to a new poll. According to the Monmouth University Poll released Thursday, 71 percent of registered New Jersey voters would vote for the constitutional amendment, while 18 percent would vote against it. Support was strongest among Democrats, 82 percent, compared with Republicans, 56 percent.

More than two-thirds of voters polled think it is "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that other budget items would have to be cut to pay for the annual contribution.  "At first glance there appears to be widespread support for constitutionally guaranteeing that the full pension obligation is met in each annual budget," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. "However, it is not clear that voters really comprehend that approving this measure would mean pension payments would automatically take precedence over funding other key services."

Given the choice, voters said they'd rather fully fund the school aid formula than pensions. A quarter preferred to make the full pension payment, compared with 63 percent who want to fund schools. Fifty-nine percent would support fully funding roads and bridges, and 30 percent would spend the money on pensions. And 58 percent would fully fund services for the poor, while 28 percent would make the pension payment.Democrats, Republicans and independents agree on these spending priorities.


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