State Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus) wants to slash the amount of tax dollars that towns are required to allocate for public libraries.
Prieto introduced a bill last week (No. 3753) to cut the obligation to one-sixth from one-third of a mill (.001 cent = 1 mill) on each dollar of assessed property value. The bill notes that property values throughout the state have risen substantially in recent years and state laws outlining the requirement haven’t been amended since the 1980s.
The N.J. State League of Municipalities backs the bill and has been urging local and state officials to move on the appropriation requirement cut. That group passed a resolution in November noting that local governments are confronting “unprecedented fiscal challenges” and changing the library appropriation is “both appropriate and necessary.”
Libraries typically see a spike in business during economic downturns, which makes this type of cost-cutting move a bit ironic. But towns that operate on fiscal years are facing the toughest budget environment in recent memory this year.