N.J. to vote on allocating funds from environmental suits, borrowing for libraries

New Jersey voters asked to borrow for libraries and dedicate lawsuit settlements for environmental work in two ballot questions.

New Jersey voters will have two ballot questions to consider when they go to the polls on Tuesday.

A proposed constitutional amendment would require that all the money from environmental damage lawsuits be dedicated to restoring and replacing natural resources, said Ed Potosnak with the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.

“With New Jersey taxes already among the highest in the country, the question makes sure that communities have the resources they need to restore the environment without having to raise property taxes,”  he said. “For many communities, this is a one-time opportunity to restore the environment.”

Environmental damage awards in the past have been diverted to balance the state budget.

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The second ballot question asks about authorizing the state to borrow $125 million to help public libraries expand or upgrade their technology, according to New Jersey Library Association executive director Patricia Tumulty.

“We still have a significant number of libraries that are not ADA accessible. We have a significant number of libraries that need to have electronic upgrades because now we do everything with computers,” she said. “Many of their building were not built when we needed to have such computer access.”

Opponents say the state already has enough debt.

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