By Samantha Marcus, NJ Advance Media for

TRENTON — More than 70 percent of New Jerseyans say they would vote in favor of a constitutional amendment this fall forcing the state to contribute to the public pension fund, but far fewer support that amendment if it jeopardizes funding for schools, roads or safety net programs, according to a new poll.

A state Assembly committee on Monday approved the ballot question, which if approved by voters, would require the state to make increasing pension payments each year until reaching the full contribution, topping out at about $5 billion, recommended by actuaries.

Proponents say that what is a hefty bill now will grow unmanageable later if payments are put off, while opponents warn the amendment would create a “super priority” likely to force severe spending cuts or tax hikes if the state economy doesn’t drum up enough cash to cover the payments.

According to the Monmouth University Poll released Thursday, 71 percent of registered New Jersey voters would vote for the constitutional amendment, while 18 percent would vote against it. Support was strongest among Democrats, 82 percent, compared with Republicans, 56 percent.


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