Americans for Prosperity sent the below letter of opposition today to members of the Legislature today regarding Assembly Bill 222, the “New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act.” The measure “authorizes issuance of $125,000,000 in general obligation bonds to finance capital projects at public libraries.”
On behalf of Americans for Prosperity and our 103,000 grassroots citizen-activists across the state, I write to express our strong opposition to Assembly Bill 222, the “New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act.”
With the State of New Jersey facing unprecedented fiscal challenges, the last thing taxpayers and state government can afford is adding another $125 million in borrowing as proposed by this legislation.
New Jersey is already drowning in an estimated $250 billion in debt. According to a report last year from transparency advocate, Truth in Accounting, today New Jersey has incurred $45 billion in debt from bonds and other liabilities. In addition, the non-partisan State Budget Solutions pegs New Jersey’s total unfunded pension and health care liabilities at $200 billion. And, of course, our Transportation Trust Fund, due to years of reckless borrowing, will need to draw from general revenues in order to address our vital infrastructure needs.
A222 will only make it more difficult for the state to resolve these pressing issues and further encroach on our ability to pay for core functions of government. AFP also believes this fiscally imprudent idea could result in further credit downgrades, thus making it even more expensive for the state to borrow in the future.
At the same time, it should be noted that New Jersey’s public libraries are very well-funded; receiving millions of taxpayer dollars at both the state and local level. While no one doubts the value New Jersey’s Public Library System still provides for residents, the threat technological innovations and the Internet pose to our library system cannot be ignored. With the virtually limitless access to information the Internet provides, core services provided by our public libraries soon could indeed become obsolete. The existing level of funding our libraries already receive, coupled with changes in the marketplace, should give considerable pause to the thought of borrowing such a staggering sum.
AFP cannot sanction legislation which will only add to the mountains of debt state government is unjustly bequeathing our children, grandchildren and future generations in the Garden State.
AFP implores lawmakers to practice fiscal responsibility and reject further indebting our state by opposing Assembly Bill 222 should it come up for a vote. Americans for Prosperity will consider including a vote on this legislation on our Taxpayer Scorecard should it occur.
Should you have any questions or wish to discuss this issue further, please feel free to reach out to me at (201) 400-3666 or MProto@afphq.org. As always, I am happy to speak with you.
New Jersey Communications Director
Americans for Prosperity