N.J. voters want tighter control on state spending

    New amendment to the state constitution requires that funds from workers benefits be spent only for that designated purpose.

    New Jersey voters have approved a constitutional amendment to require employee withholdings for unemployment insurance, workers comp and paid family leave to be used only for those intended purposes.

    Past governors and lawmakers have used money from those funds to balance the state budget.

    Senate President Steve Sweeney said Wednesday approval of the ballot question is good news.

    “Eventually the taxes will go down in all these funds because once you build up sufficient surpluses, we already did the bills that trigger a decrease in the tax rate, and if you can’t take the surplus, there was $4 billion taken out of it, you have to reduce it,” he said.

    Sweeney, who called the amendment a good first step, said the Legislature should consider such a requirement for other dedicated funds including the Transportation Trust Fund. That money is supposed to be used for repairs to the state’s roads and bridges, but language in the state budget bills allowed it to be put into the general fund.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.