From the Star Ledger:
New Jersey voters on Tuesday approved a proposal to borrow $500 million to expand vocational schools and bolster security across K-12 school districts, according to projections from the Associated Press.
Voters were asked whether they support the Securing Our Children’s Future Act, a $500 million bond measure that also includes funding for county colleges and improving water systems in K-12 schools. It was the only statewide ballot question.
New Jersey’s Constitution requires that new state borrowing be approved by a majority of voters.
Proponents of the bond issue had argued career and technicals schools need to expand to serve more students. For every seat at the schools, there are 2.3 applications, and last year 17,000 students were turned away.
The technical skills gap between New Jersey’s workforce and industry needs is holding back the state’s economy, they said, while limited admissions are depriving students of training for careers in welding, clean energy, construction and logistics.
The $500 million bond issue is half of what New Jersey lawmakers wanted. Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, cut it from $1 billion out of concern for the state’s already high debt burden.
At $1 billion, the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services projected the new debt would add $57.5 million to $72.3 million in new borrowing costs every year through 2048, for a total of $1.7 billion to $2.2 billion.
State officials have not said how much $500 million in new borrowing would cost each year. New Jersey is one of the most indebted states and is paying more than $4 billion this year to service its debt.