Fair share: Monmouth Poll shows those in South Jersey feel they come up short

Pay your “fair share.” It’s the vague request/demand that so many will make when they essentially want big business and the wealthiest to pay for everything.

When it comes to getting your fair share, people are more specific. At least, that appears to be the case from the latest Monmouth University Poll, released Tuesday morning.

The poll found that South Jersey residents felt most overlooked when it comes to getting state resources — at least compared with those living in Central and North Jersey.

When asked about the distribution of government spending and programs, 43% of all New Jerseyans felt their region of the state gets its fair share of state resources, while 47% felt it does not.

But, when those who identify as being from South Jersey were asked, only 26% said their region gets its fair share, while nearly two-thirds (64%) said it does not.

Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said the result is not a surprise.

“It’s the same old Garden State story,” he said. “South Jersey feels left out and North Jersey doesn’t seem to mind.”

Folks in South Jersey mind. That’s clear. Just listen to Christina Renna, the head of the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey.

“It goes without saying that, historically, South Jerseyans feel they are getting the short end of the stick,” she said. “We have a smaller population, so, in some ways, getting a smaller piece of the pie makes sense. However, what we see over and over again is that the piece of pie is still much smaller than it should be — even given population differences.

“The business owners and residents of South Jersey see it and feel it every day. The regional divide is very real.”

That was never so clear as when the governor proposed the Corporate Transit Fee, a 2.5% tax on the biggest companies to help pay for New Jersey Transit’s annual costs.

Businesses in South Jersey have balked. And for good reason. Despite asking, they don’t have access to many NJ Transit opportunities. It’s taxation without access, they say.

So, who gets their fare share? Residents in South Jersey and Central Jersey were clear on that: North Jersey. The vast majority of folks in the southern (89%) and central (79%) parts of the state said North Jersey actually gets more than its fair share.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from Feb. 29-March 4, including 801 New Jersey adults. The question results have a margin of error of +/-4.2 percentage points for the full sample.