New Jersey voters support a proposed constitutional amendment to require pension payments but don’t want to use tax increases or additional budget cuts to help fund them, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Monday.Some 49 percent support the constitutional amendment being proposed by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), compared to 40 percent who say they oppose it. That’s a narrow margin considering that another 11 percent added that they were unsure of their stance on the issue.
While the poll found that 77 percent of voters oppose tax hikes to help fund the pension payments and another 54 percent oppose using budget cuts as a funding source, 71 percent added they would support using a millionaire’s tax, or a surcharge on the state’s wealthiest, to do so instead.
Another 62 percent of voters said state employees should contribute more towards their own pensions and 68 percent added their preference for more of the cost-saving benefit reforms proposed by Gov. Chris Christie.
“Details play a crucial role in voter responses to these issues,” said assistant poll director Ashley Koning. “Voters are more likely than not to favor mandated pension payments, but they do not want to pay for it themselves.”
Less muddled is the 73 percent support for another recent proposal from state Democrats to gradually increase the statewide minimum wage from $8.38 per hour to $15 per hour. Just 25 percent said they were opposed to the measure.
The current wage and all future increases and decreases were constitutionally tied to the consumer price index through a voter referendum passed in 2013. Democrats have also threatened to take the proposal to the ballot.
“Voters have always strongly favored minimum wage increases in New Jersey,” said Koning. “This time is no different despite the proposed hourly jump from $8.38 to $15 – most likely because voters were explicitly told that the increase would be gradual.”