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Public Questions during the Byrne Administration

While not under the control of the governor, the public questions that appear on the ballot each year provide valuable insight into some of the major issues the state faced in a given time period. In New Jersey, the public may see three different variety of public questions:

    1. Constitutional Amendments, that will alter the state constitution
    2. Bond issuances, that will raise money for large projects
    3. Legislative referenda, which will enact new policies in the state

During Brendan Byrne’s two terms in office, a total of 42 public questions were placed on the ballot. They are listed below by year with vote totals indicated.

1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981

 

1974

Question 1 – To permit gambling casinos.
Rejected, with 790,777 votes in favor, and 1,202,638 votes against.

Question 2 – Constitutional amendment of Article II, paragraph 3, to permit voter registration after 30 days’ residence in state and county.
Approved, with 946,175 votes in favor, and 876,814 votes against.

Question 3 – $200,000,000 bond issue for “Green Acres” lands.
Approved, with 1,000,385 votes in favor, and 816,919 votes against.

Question 4 – $100,000,000 bond issue for highways.
Rejected, with 754,798 votes in favor, and 1,060,617 votes against.

Question 5 – $100,000,000 bond issue for railroads.
Rejected, with 865,011 votes in favor, and 919,742 votes against.

Question 6 – $90,000,000 bond issue for housing construction and rehabilitation.
Rejected, with 841,648 votes in favor, and 956,881 votes against.

 

1975

Question 1 – Constitutional amendment of Article VIII, Section I, paragraph 4, to permit elderly persons’ and “homestead” rebates, and to allow classification of properties for tax assessments.
Approved, with 1,171,474 votes in favor, and 538,060 votes against.

Question 2 – Constitutional amendment to guarantee equal rights for women.
Rejected, with 828,290 votes in favor, and 868,061 votes against.

Question 3 – $110,000,000 bond issue for development of water resources.
Rejected, with 740,496 votes in favor, and 891,190 votes against.

Question 4 – $600,000,000 bond issue for mass transit and highways.
Rejected, with 616,461 votes in favor, and 1,022,150 votes against.

Question 5 – $100,000,000 bond issue for mortgage assistance and housing construction.
Rejected, with 670,370 votes in favor, and 973,629 votes against.

Question 6 – $112,000,000 bond issue for institutions.
Rejected, with 587,404 votes in favor, and 1,022,854 votes against.

 

1976

Question 1 – Constitutional amendment of Article IV, Section VII, paragraph 2 to permit casino gambling in Atlantic City.
Approved, with 1,535,249 votes in favor, and 1,180,799 votes against.

Question 2 – Constitutional amendment of Article VIII, Section I, paragrpah 5 to permit tax credits or rebates to elderly or disabled persons or their spouses.
Approved, with 1,989,812 voters in favor, and 554,587 votes against.

Question 3 – $25,000,000 bond issue for housing mortgage assistance.
Approved, with 1,275,048 votes in favor, and 1,142,213 votes against.

Question 4 – $120,000,000 bond issue for water management and sewage treatment.
Approved, with 1,543,237 votes in favor, and 884,948 votes against.

Question 5 – $80,000,000 bond issue for institutional construction and improvement.
Approved, 1,315,052 votes in favor, and 1,038,668 votes against.

Question 6 – Constitutional amendment of Article VIII, Section I, paragraphs 5 and 7 to dedicate income tax receipts to reduce or offset property taxes.
Approved, with 1,688,463 votes in favor, and 701,983 votes against.

Question 7 – Permitting an increase in fees and prize value for certain licensed amusement games.
Rejected, with 907,007 votes in favor, and 1,359,860 votes against.

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1977

Question 1 – $30,000,000 bond issue for beach and harbor projects.
Approved, with 907,904 votes in favor, and 640,029 votes against.

Question 2 – $120,000,000 bond issue to refinance and expand College of Medicine and Dentistry facilities.
Approved, with 929,138 votes in favor, and 616,502 votes against.

 

1978

Question 1 – Constitutional amendment of Article VII, Sections I, III, IV, V and VI, and Article IX, Section VI, to incorporate the county courts into the Superior Court.
Approved, with 846,192 votes in favor, and 699,956 votes against.

Question 2 – Constitutional amendment to permit gambling on jai alai meetings, with revenue to go to property tax relief.
Rejected, with 671,793 votes in favor, and 966,254 votes against.

Question 3 – Authorizing the state guarantee of $317,000,000 in bonds to refinance teh Sports Authority.
Approved, with 846,344 votes in favor and 731,352 votes against.

Question 4 – $200,000,000 bond issue for “Green Acres” lands.
Approved, with 880,305 votes in favor and 694,197 votes against.

Question 5 – $100,000,000 bond issue for construction of facilities for mentally ill patients, Trenton State Prison, facilities for blind and handicapped, and a forensic laboratory, pursuant to Ch. 79, P.L. 1978.
Approved, with 918,070 votes in favor, and 642,647 votes against.

Question 6 – $250,000,000 bond issue for flood control planning and development.
Approved, with 868,715 votes in favor, and 687,739 votes against.

 

1979

Question 1 – $475,000,000 bond issue for public transit facilities, and improvement to highways and roads.
Approved, with 747,272 votes in favor, and 638,758 votes against.

Question 2 – $95,000,000 bond issue for higher education facilities.
Rejected, with 611,639 votes in favor, and 748,737 votes against.

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1980

Question 1 – $145,000,000 bond issue for resource recovery, sewage treatment, and water management facilities.
Approved, with 1,412,678 votes in favor, and 873,381 votes against.

Question 2 – $159,000,000 bond issue for correctional facilities and institutions for veterans, mentally handicapped people, disabled people, and children in need of supervision.
Approved, with 1,245,981 votes in favor, and 1,002,915 votes against.

Question 3 – Constitutional amendment of Article VIII, Section I, paragraph 4 to extend the senior or disabled citizen real property tax deduction to those who do not own the land upon which their homes stand.
Approved, with 1,758,598 votes in favor, and 588,183 votes against.

Question 4 – Constitutional amendment of Article VIII, Section I, paragraph 4 to gradually increase the senior or disabled citizen real property tax deduction from $160 to $250 by 1983, and relax the eligibility income limits.
Approved, with 1,790,199 votes in favor, and 155,788 votes against.

Question 5 – $50,000,000 bond issue for energy conservation measures in public buildings.
Approved, with 1,172,160 votes in favor, and 1,024,937 votes against.

Question 6 – To permit horse race gambling during certain hours on Sundays.
Rejected, with 996,006 votes in favor, and 1,285,074 votes against.

Question 7 – Constitutional amendment to authorize the Legislature to change the rules governing amusement games of skill or chance which offer merchandise prizes.
Rejected, with 977,766 votes in favor, and 1,191,128 votes against.

 

1981

Question 1 – $350,000,000 bond issue for establishing or improving water supply facilities.
Approved, with 1,154,854 votes in favor, and 1,002,915 votes against.

Question 2 – $100,000,000 bond issue for identifying and cleaning up hazardous waste dumps.
Approved, with 1,109,070 votes in favor and 647,557 votes against.

Question 3 – $50,000,000 bond issue for acquisition of easements to preserve lands as farm lands.
Approved, with 1,065,996 votes in favor, and 668,172 votes against.

Question 4 – Removing the 6 percent interest rate for unsold bonds of the 1969 water conservation bond issue.
Approved, with 929,033 votes in favor, and 697,424 votes against.

Question 5 – Constitutional amendment of Article IV, Section VII, paragraph 1 to allow more flexibility in the use of casino tax revenues for programs to benefit elderly and disabled persons.
Approved, with 1,105,957 votes in favor, and 524,496 votes against.

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