New Jersey Wage Assessment Amendment, Public Question 1 (2010)

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The New Jersey Wage Assessment Amendment was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of New Jersey as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.Approveda The measure was approved by the voters. The New Jersey Constitution would be amended to state that any assessments on wages by the state be dedicated to the payment of employee benefits. The amendment does not apply to gross income tax[1][2].

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
New Jersey Question 1 (Wage Assessment)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,197,956 80.3%
No293,88619.7%

Source: New Jersey Secretary of State Elections Division. Results were certified by the New Jersey State Canvassing Board on November 30, 2010[3].

Text of measure

The official ballot question as follows:

"Shall the amendment to Article VIII, Section II of the State Constitution, agreed to by the Legislature, which: prohibits collection by the State of assessments based solely on employee wages and salaries for any purpose other than providing employee benefits; dedicates all employer and employee contributions collected for any employee benefit fund, and all returns on investments of those contributions, to the purpose of that fund; and prohibits any transferring, borrowing, appropriating or using of those contributions or returns for any other purpose, be approved?"

Interpretative Statement

This proposed constitutional amendment prohibits the collection by the State of assessments based on employee wages and salaries for any purpose except paying employee benefits (or making other employee-authorized or federally required payments, in the case of the State’s own employees), dedicates all contributions made to the unemployment compensation fund, the State disability benefits fund, or any other employee benefit fund, and all returns on investments of those contributions, to the purpose of that fund, and prohibits the use of those contributions or returns for any other purpose. The requirements of this proposed amendment do not apply to the gross income tax, which is exclusively dedicated by the state constitution to the purpose of reducing or offsetting local property taxes[4].

Support

  • The measure, according to reports, has the backing of New Jersey State AFL-CIO and the State Policemen's Benevolent Association.[5]
  • The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce are also supporters of the measure.[5]

According to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) no committee in support of the measure filed any paperwork with the state's campaign finance authority[6].

Opposition

There was no known opposition for Public Question 1 according to records with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC)[7].

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of New Jersey ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • The Asbury Park Press supported the wage assessment amendment. The newspaper supported provisions in the amendment that prohibit raids of employee benefit funds to fix budget shortfalls. The newspaper also said that a yes vote would prevent raids in future state budgets, citing the state's fiscal situation.[8].
  • The Bergen Record supported the wage assessment amendment. The newspaper's editorial board supported any measure that prohibited segregated funds from being raided, especially funds that state employees contribute to in order to receive certain benefits. The Record cited research from the League of Women Voters that found over $5.4 billion in fund raids over the last fifteen years. The editorial board said that voter approval of the amendment could stop further raids[9].
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer's editorial board announced their support for the wage assessment amendment in its October 31, 2010 edition[10].
  • The Press of Atlantic City supported the measure, stating in an editorial, "It is true that tying the hands of lawmakers is usually not a good idea. In this case, though, it is clear that these hands need to be tied very securely to ensure that future benefits - benefits that employers and employees paid for - are there when they are needed. Vote yes."[11]

Opposition

There was no opposition from newspaper editorial boards.

Path to the ballot

In New Jersey, the state legislature must approve a proposed amendment by a supermajority vote of 60% but the same amendment can also qualify for the ballot if successive sessions of the New Jersey State Legislature approve it by a simple majority.

See also

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