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In support of NJ Senate Bill 2293 “Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act”

I read two social media editorials by taxpayers encouraging voters to vote against Senate Bill 2293 known as the “Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act“. This blog post is an editorial in support of the bill. My argument is broken down into a brief listing of the facts followed by four points of personal opinion.

The facts

    The bill proposes increasing New Jersey’s bond debt by less than a half of one percent. This is a minimal increase in state debt by any measure.
    The borrowed money is to be used for education-related purposes. The primary intent is to improve the technical job skills of our high school graduates. Some of the money is allocated for school security upgrades and school water system upgrades.
    • The full text of the bill is available at

https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/S2500/2293_R1.HTM

    .
    This is a revenue bond, meaning that lawmakers have planned for the source of funds for repayment from other than property taxes. This is considered normal prudent government fiscal policy.
    Bond underwriting firms (investment bankers who sell the bond to their customers) require a general guarantee that if the revenue source fails, the bond is still a general obligation of the state. In this case property tax revenues could be used to repay the bond. This is normal procedure.
    The bill already passed both the state Senate and Assembly with unanimous support. Our local Assemblymen voted in support. Our local state Senator did not vote in the bill’s final passage in late August.
    Our state constitution requires listing of this bill on Tuesday’s ballot.

My opinion

    Nobody likes for the government to borrow money. None of us wants to risk the possibility of higher property taxes.
    If there is one thing worth borrowing money for, it would be to improve the educational and work skills of the state’s young people.
    In general, investment in vocational training has a high return to society. Too many good job positions go infilled because our young people lack the technical skills required.
    The fear-based resistance to this bill as a possible cause of future property tax increase is unwarranted. We may have good reasons to fear future state tax increases, but this is not one of them.

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