NJ Politics Digest: NJ Legislators Hope Voters Will Pay Big For School Security

New Jersey State House. Library of Congress

Despite complaints about the cost of living in the state, New Jersey voters have always proved willing to approve bond issues for good causes when they are placed on the ballot. And lawmakers hope that will be the case again in November, when voters are asked to approve spending $1 billion on school security measures and funding to upgrade the state’s vo-tech schools.

It’s a big chunk of change and twice the amount that lawmakers were originally planning to ask for, according to a report on NJSpotlight.

The original plan had been to seek $500 million for the vo-tech improvements. Lawmakers say that spending is necessary since businesses in the state are having trouble finding workers with the right skills to meet their needs.

But that plan might be a tough sell, given that Gov. Phil Murphy’s first budget is calling for a wide variety of tax hikes, including raising the state sales tax—that residents were told was compensation for the Democratic legislature and Republican Gov. Chris Christie hiking the gasoline tax by 23 cents per gallon.

The school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has raised concerns about school safety on both sides of the aisle, and Republicans have joined the effort to seek to add the security funds to the vo-tech bond issue, according to NJSpotlight.

And while, as the NJSpotlight report points out, New Jersey is one of the country’s most in-debted states, and its structural fiscal problems are well known, it’s hard to argue against spending money to ensure the safety of school children.

Quote of the Day: “Wow, you’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t believe he said that.” — Senate President Steve Sweeney, after Gov. Phil Murphy brought race into the discussion of Sweeney’s blocking two of the governor’s cabinet nominees.

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