Opinion: Vote “No” on the Ballot Questions

By Shelly Kennedy

Shelly Kennedy

MONMOUTH COUNTY VOTERS: VOTE NO & NO on the public questions. One disallows income from legal settlements to be used to service general debt… the other INCREASES debt by allowing yet another bond issue for the “cause of the week”.

Here are the two state questions.

New Jersey 2017 ballot measures – Ballotpedia

Doing a quick analysis: If income from environmental law suits is “locked” into spending then it cannot be used to service debt. So one wonders if we should use any kind of “lock box” fiscal management practices at all. If you agree that funds collected should be flexible in order to be used for various items in the legislature’s annual budget, then the answer would be “no”. Priorities change year by year. There may be a shortfall in one revenue source that needs to be balanced by another to meet legal obligatory debt. Committing funds to a budget item in a prior year where it is unavailable to service debt in the future is not a good idea at all.

The second question relates to a bond issue to borrow more money. Why would we want to do this, when Jersey is pretty much drowning in debt now? So this question also is not such a good idea. While everyone likes libraries, we have many at the municipal and county level already, as well as in schools. Recently, library usage has been decreasing. So, borrowing money for libraries when we already have many, and when use of physical library services is on down turn, and needs elsewhere are really more critical, is not a good idea, either. It also sends a flag that planning should be more dynamic to factor into account recent trends before making requests of taxpayers for large projects of unknown future value.

Fewer Americans Are Visiting Local Libraries—and Technology Isn’t to Blame

For Monmouth County voters: The Open Space question for Monmouth County increases the tax reserve rate from 1.5 to 2.75 per $100, which would make those tax dollars unavailable for other county expenditures. In Monmouth County, there already is a great deal of open space. Monmouth County has an ambitious plan to preserve 20,000 acres. The county page states that 16,557 acres of open space (and an additional 2,792 acres of easements), a total of 19,349 acres, already has been preserved as part of the Monmouth County Park System. The goal is 20,000 acres. It would seem that Monmouth County has substantially met its goal and no raise in the collection rate is needed to buy the remaining plan of 651 acres. Remember too that “open space” and parks are not maintenance-free, and require caretaking and programs which translate directly into tax dollars. Open Space does not contribute to ratables. More open space means higher taxes on each remaining ratable property, like your home.

Consider also that each town in Monmouth County also has open space, as does the state. When you consider them together, many more than 20,000 acres are already dedicated to open space in Monmouth County. Since none of this contributes to ratables, but instead costs taxpayers money, we should carefully consider the cost and benefit of any further increase in open space.

Essentially, Monmouth County voters, please consider voting “no” on all three questions since the benefit of each is questionable, and each inevitably means “higher taxes”. To avoid these potential tax increases you should vote NO on all 3.

Shelly Kennedy is a resident of Atlantic Highlands

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Posted: October 12th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: 2017 Elections, Monmouth County News, New Jersey, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “Opinion: Vote “No” on the Ballot Questions”

  1. Proud Republican said at 10:00 pm on October 12th, 2017:

    I like open space and don’t want to live in a city-light environment. If Ms. Kennedy abhors open space so much, maybe a move to Hudson or Essex County is in order

  2. Joe said at 5:05 pm on October 14th, 2017:

    It is unfortunate that way too many people always vote yes on these types of ballot questions. Usually at first blush they sound altruistic and a positive option. That is usually not the case however. Voting for “Open Space” always involves the same old government trickery known as “Bonding”. Bonding my friends is nothing more than a loan that must be paid back, it is not “Free” money that magically appears from the tooth ferry. If you really believe that these ballot questions are of such great value, let’s just raise taxes and pay as we go! That would be a little more of an eye opener for those who may not understand what bonding really is. If one were to look closely and realize that these “altruistic” questions will all impact your personal finances, perhaps there would be more “No” votes. I strongly suggest that all look a little more closely before you pull the lever!

    For what its worth!

  3. Problem is, said at 12:10 am on October 15th, 2017:

    we’ve already voted for two open space taxes, (which are never enough,) and apparently, even when we are all bought up and built out, will never “sunset.” This is really another big tax bite, folks -which, like the other two,will also be used for maintenance and salaries, not just land. So they can say they are”holding the line,” on their portion, where they are really whacking us again,elsewhere: think how much it adds to your personal bill, then add the ever- increasing schools portion, your local municipal portion, then add the hundreds more of the rotten 23 cent a gallon extra gas tax you have spent, and will be spending, just to commute and live here,and many will eventually just throw up their hands, pack up, and get the hell out!! The constant chip-chip here and there, of our hard- earned money, is killing us- and, these ballot questions that most vote “yes” on, are just more self- inflected wounds!!