November 08, 2016

New Jersey voters overwhelmingly reject casino referendum

Question to dedicate fuel tax to transportation projects narrowly passes

New Jersey voters overwhelmingly rejected Tuesday a ballot question for additional casino gambling.

On the ballot, the yes-or-no question read: "Do you approve amending the Constitution to permit casino gambling in two additional counties in this State? At present, casino gambling is allowed only in Atlantic City in Atlantic County. Only one casino in each of the two counties would be permitted. Each casino is to be located in a town that is at least 72 miles from Atlantic City. The amendment would allow certain persons to apply first for a casino license."

With 90 percent of the vote counted, nearly 78 percent of voters - 2,050,498 people - said "No" to gambling expansion, according to the Associated Press.

The amendment would have mandated that the state's share of revenue from the operation of the two casinos and of the casinos in Atlantic City be used for programs and property tax relief for senior citizens and disabled residents. It would have also allowed for the recovery, stabilization or improvement of Atlantic City and other purposes as provided by law.

Garden State voters also had the opportunity to weigh in on a second ballot question regarding the state's new gas tax.

Nearly 54 percent of voters - 1,478,685 to 1,283,789 with 93 percent of the vote counted - supported a measure to dedicate all revenue from the oil and gas taxes to the Transportation Trust Fund.

The question read:

"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?

"This amendment would provide that an additional three cents of the current motor fuels tax on diesel fuel, which is not dedicated for transportation projects, be dedicated to the Transportation Trust Fund. In doing so, the entire State tax on diesel fuel would be used for transportation purposes. The entire State tax on gasoline is currently dedicated to the Transportation Trust Fund and used for transportation purposes.

"The amendment would also provide that all of the revenue from the current State tax on petroleum products gross receipts be dedicated to the Transportation Trust Fund. In doing so, the entire State tax on petroleum products gross receipts would be used for transportation purposes.

"This amendment does not change the current tax on motor fuels or petroleum products gross receipts."

Last week, New Jersey hiked its fuel tax by 23 cents a gallon.