Quijano, Vainieri Huttle, Jasey, Benson, Singleton, Wilson, Lampitt Bill to Facilitate Financial Support to Local Libraries Receives Final Legislative Approval by Assembly

(TRENTON) - The full Assembly gave the final approval on Monday to legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Mila Jasey, Daniel Benson, Troy Singleton, Whip Wilson and Pamela Lampitt to allow taxpayers to make a voluntary contribution in support of local libraries on their gross income tax returns with a vote of 77-0.

"Budgetary constraints at the local and state level have made it difficult for many of our public libraries to operate effectively," said Quijano (D-Union). "This bill would help to bridge the gap in funding by allowing residents to make direct, monetary contributions come tax season."

"Libraries provide an essential service to our communities. For some residents, their main access to books and the Internet is through their local library branch," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "This bill gives residents the option to help preserve our public libraries by making a contribution when filing their taxes."

"Libraries are important community resources, but many are under constant threat of having to cut back on services and staff," said Jasey (D-Essex, Morris). "Enabling residents to support through their tax returns would provide much-needed infusions of funding that will help sustain our libraries and keep them in our communities."

"Lack of funding has led to some libraries closing. We cannot let that happen," said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). "We must do all that we can to ensure our libraries continue to serve in our communities. This legislation is a the way we can help fund programming and support staffing in New Jersey's libraries."

"We want our libraries to continue serving as access points for job services, information and internet access for residents," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "The services libraries offer are invaluable and deserve community support in this way."

"In many communities, our libraries are the only source of internet access, serve as community meeting places, and a refuge for children afterschool," said Wilson (D-Camden). "A tax check-off would be a great funding boost for our libraries. There is a way we can help secure their place as vital part of our communities and this is it."

"Our libraries offer invaluable services and free programming that enrich our communities," said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). "A designated funding source for our libraries is a smart move in an unpredictable economy."

The bill (A-1314/S1803) establishes the Local Library Support Fund, a special fund where the contributions would be deposited and appropriated for the support of county and municipal libraries.

The bill requires the Department of the Treasury to turn the funds in the Local Library Support Fund over to the State Librarian, who shall annually distribute the moneys received from the fund in accordance with the State Library Aid Law.

The Assembly approved the bill in February, but will have to reconsider it for final legislative approval because of amendments.

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