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Poll: Who Put Together the TTF Fix? Who Runs New Jersey?

Basically the bill to tank up the TTF is the work of just three people. What does that say about how things get done in NJ?

After months of hand-wringing and negotiations, the leaders of the state Legislature and Gov. Chris Christie have reached an agreement on how to fund the Transportation Trust Fund going forward. The TTF is responsible for all capital transportation projects in the state. It has been essentially broke since July 1 and as a result, most roadwork has stopped in New Jersey and won’t be restarted until legislation about to how to fund new work is approved — most likely today.

Despite all the discussions, the legislation has primarily been decided by three people (the state Senate President, the Speaker of the Assembly and the governor) without public input. Basically, it calls for a tax break on one side of the state budget ledger that almost matches the size of a 23-cent tax increase on gasoline. The only difference is the fund will be dedicated to transportation as opposed to highly variable state budget receipts.

What does this process, and resulting agreement, say about New Jersey?

  • This is what representative democracy is all about. We’ve elected leaders to make these hard decisions and if we don’t like them, then vote them out. Anything that moves the state forward is positive and this does.

  • It got done, if tortuously. It demonstrates that even with a divided government, Republicans and Democrats can put aside their differences for the public good.

  • Realistically, what do you expect? No one wants tax increases so public hearings are not going to be helpful. A negotiation on how to fund the TTF is what has to happen. When you get a deal that no one is enthused about, its probably a good deal.

  • This is sausage making at its worst. The inability to negotiate resulted in a crisis that ended up forcing a very bad deal. We’ve got so many fiscal time bombs — the pension and healthcare crisis, state school-funding problems, the need for multibillion dollar investments to upgrade our drinking water infrastructure. Tax cuts for the rich just to get a critical investment doesn’t bode well for our future.

  • It doesn’t mean all that much comparatively. Politics is broken at all levels as the current presidential election painfully demonstrates. No wonder the public is barely involved nor interested.

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