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Center on the American Governor > On Governors > New Jersey Governors > Governor Thomas H. Kean Administration > Public Questions during the Administration of Governor Thomas H. Kean

Public Questions during the Administration of Governor Thomas H. Kean

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 Governor Kean’s two terms in office, many important items were placed on the popular ballot and voted on by the public. Below are the 48 public questions that appeared on the New Jersey ballot between Thomas Kean’s election as governor and when he left the office, categorized by year:

 

1981 (Kean’s first election to Governor)

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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1982

Question 1 – Endorsing a US-Soviet verifiable “freeze” on production and deployment of nuclear arms.
          Approved, with 1,250,468 votes in favor, and 643,780 votes against.

Question 2 – $170,000,000 bond issue for construction and improvement of correctional facilities.
          Approved, with 1,040,289 votes in favor and 746,677 votes against.

Question 3 – Permitting use of 1980 institutional bond issue money without requisite federal subsidy.
          Approved, with 1,036,185 votes in favor, and 715,917 votes against.

Question 4 – $85,000,000 bond issue for industrial parks and other community development projects.
          Approved, with 848,393 votes in favor, and 845,585 votes against.

Question 5 – Constitutional amendment to authorize the Legislature to sell or lease the state’s riparian claims for less than fair market value.
          Rejected, with 649,919 votes in favor, and 1,029,937 votes against.

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1983

Question 1 – $135,000,000 bond issue for Green Acres land acquisition and local assistance programs.
          Approved, with 806,521 votes in favor, and 519,667 votes against.

Question 2 – $50,000,000 bond issue for shore protection projects.
          Approved, with 798,117 votes in favor and 532,319 votes against.

Question 3 – Amending the 1981 Water Supply Bond Issue to permit use of funds for certain additional projects.
          Approved, with 860,897 votes in favor, and 447,512 votes against.

Question 4 – $135,000,000 bond issue for rehabilitating and improving road and railroad bridges.
          Approved, with 952,162 votes in favor, and 387,387 votes against.

Question 5 – Constitutional amendment of Article VI, Section III, paragraph 3, and Section VI, paragraphs 1 and 3 to abolish the county district courts and the juvenile and domestic relations courts, tranferring their judges to the Superior Court, and creating a Family Part in the Chancery Division of Superior Court.
          Approved, with 702,898 votes in favor, and 550,064 votes against.

Question 6 – Constitutional amendment of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 3 to authorize the Legislature to refinance any outstanding debt if it can save money for the state by doing so.
          Approved, with 674,290 votes in favor, and 570,658 votes against.

Question 7 – Constitutional amendment of Article VI, Section I, paragraph 3 to extend veteran’s widow’s property tax exemption to widowers.
          Approved, with 1,089,078 votes in favor, and 238,540 votes against.

Question 8 – Constitutional amendment of Article V, Section I, paragraph 14 to extend from 10 to 17 days the time the governor has to sign any bill enacted during the final 10 days of the two-year legislative cycle.
          Approved, with 849,759 votes in favor, and 404,155 votes against.

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1984

Question 1 – $90,000,000 bond issue for facilities and programs to promote employment in science and technology.
          Approved, with 1,450,924 votes in favor, and 888,757 votes against.

Question 2 – $60,000,000 bond issue for mental hospitals and other institutions.
          Approved, with 1,442,331 votes in favor and 891,172 votes against.

Question 3 – Constitutional amendment of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 4 to dedicate, for 17 years, 2.5 cents of the tax on each gallon of motor fuel to a special transportation fund.
          Approved, with 1,495,707 votes in favor, and 828,295 votes against.

Question 4 – Constitutional amendment of Article IV, Section XI, paragraph 2 to authorize senior citizen groups to conduct raffles for their support.
          Approved, with 2,074,417 votes in favor, and 342,344 votes against.

Question 5 – Constitutional amendment of Article VIII, Section I, paragraph 4 to enable a taxpayer to enjoy both a veteran’s and a senior citizen’s tax deduction.
          Approved, with 2,091,176 votes in favor, and 356,088 votes against.

Question 6 – Constitutional amendment of Article VIII, Section I, paragraph 7 to prohibit taxation of Social Security Act or Railroad Retirement Act benefits.
          Approved, with 1,858,918 votes in favor, and 519,913 votes against.

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1985 (Kean’s second election to Governor)

Question 1 – $190,000,000 bond issue to support local government construction of wastewater treatment facilities.
          Approved, with 1,045,725 votes in favor, and 429,575 votes against.

Question 2 – $85,000,000 bond issue for state loans to local governments for development of resource recovery and sanitary landfill facilities.
          Approved, with 1,066,305 votes in favor and 410,877 votes against.

Question 3 – $30,000,000 bond issue for grants and loans to local governments in the Pinelands area, for capital projects.
          Approved, with 930,250 votes in favor, and 532,114 votes against.

Question 4 – Permitting repayments of loans made under the Natural Resources Bond Act of 1980 to be applied to the Natural Resources Fund to be set up under the $85,000,000 bond issue of 1985.
          Approved, with 936,266 votes in favor, and 480,199 votes against.

Question 5 – Permitting “simulcasting,” or racetrack betting on live broadcasts of races run at other tracks
          Approved, with 1,040,117 votes in favor, and 533,926 votes against.

Question 6 – Constitutional amendment to prohibit use of Casino Revenue Fund money for financing the homestead rebates of elderly and disabled residents.
          Rejected, with 573,555 votes in favor, and 943,740 votes against.

Question 7 – Constitutional amendment to empower the Legislature to invalidate executive agency rules and regulations.
          Rejected, with 511,115 votes in favor, and 851,883 votes against.

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1986

Question 1 – Amending the 1981 Hazardous Waste Bond issue to permit use of the money regardless of the availability of other funds.
          Approved, with 813,183 votes in favor, and 385,032 votes against.

Question 2 – $200,000,000 bond issue for identifying and cleaning up hazardous waste dumps.
          Approved, with 786,576 votes in favor and 399,467 votes against.

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1987

Question 1 – $198,000,000 bond issue for construction or repair of state and county correctional facilities.
          Approved, with 824,570 votes in favor, and 546,790 votes against.

Question 2 – $100,000,000 bond issue for Green Acres cultural, historic, preservation, recreation, and conservation projects.
          Approved, with 857,096 votes in favor and 516,971 votes against.

Question 3 – $185,000,000 bond issue for construction of a major league baseball stadium.
          Rejected, with 473,704 votes in favor, and 972,783 votes against.

Question 4 – Amending the 1981 Farmland Preservation Bond Act to reduce its restrictions on use of the money.
          Approved, with 934,903 votes in favor, and 421,918 votes against.

Question 5 – Amending the 1980 Public Purpose Buildings Bond Act to permit $10,000,000 dedicated to nursing home loans to be used instead for facilities for mentally ill people.
          Approved, with 955,124 votes in favor, and 397,533 votes against.

Question 6 – Constitutional amendment to extend the terms of county sheriffs from three to five years.
          Rejected, with 537,798 votes in favor, and 767,601 votes against.

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1988

Question 1 – $350,000,000 bond issue for computer and other technological facilities at public and private colleges.
          Approved, with 1,569,769 votes in favor, and 712,376 votes against.

Question 2 – Constitutional amendment of Article IV, Section IV, paragraph 1 to provide that a legislative vacancy be filled, within 35 days, by the choice fo the county committee members of the former incumbent’s party..
          Approved, with 1,503,003 votes in favor and 649,185 votes against.

Question 3 – Constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to extend veterans’ or elederly or disabled citizens’ tax deductions to shareholders in housing co-operatives.
          Approved, with 1,673,322 votes in favor, and 575,326 votes against.

Question 4 – Constitutional amendment of Article II, paragraph 2 to require that a state public question be approved by the Legislature at least 70 days adn published in newspapers at least 60 days prior to the election.
          Approved, with 1,674,456 votes in favor, and 451,500 votes against.

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1989

Question 1 – $300,000,000 bond issue for farmland acquisition and soil and water conservation purposes.
          Approved, with 1,189,754 votes in favor, and 480,461 votes against.

Question 2 – $125,000,000 bond issue for state and community-based facilities for the developmentally disabled and the mentally ill; and for correctional facilities.
          Approved, with 982,237 votes in favor and 642,810 votes against.

Question 3 – $50,000,000 bond issue to manage storm water and abate combined sewer overflows ino the state’s waters.
          Approved, with 1,094,516 votes in favor, and 529,270 votes against.

Question 4 – $115,000,000 bond issue to rehabilitate bridges and for preserving and acquiring railroad right-of-way.
          Approved, with 1,132,522 votes in favor, and 503,713 votes against.

Question 5 – Amending the 1981 and 1986 Hazardous Discharge Bond Acts to permit the bond revenues to be used for protecting underground drinking water supplies.
          Approved, with 1,257,583 votes in favor, and 376,585 votes against.

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