HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - The Hasbrouck Heights Council passed two resolutions advocating policy, one at a federal level, one at the state level, during Tuesday evening’s Borough Council meeting.
Resolution 133 was passed by a 5-0 vote (Councilman Stephen Reyngoudt was not in attendance) in support the Library Stabilization Fund Act of 2020. The Act, S.4181 - Library Stabilization Fund Act of 2020, would establish a Library Stabilization Fund that would respond to accelerate the recovery from the economic crisis and to address social inequities that have been exacerbated during the crisis:
Funding not to be less than:
$1.715 billion to the States,
$45 million to Indian Tribes and organizations,
$200 million to carry out activities strengthening the ability of libraries to provide services to communities affected by coronavirus.
The funds provided maybe used to:
Continue library services to their communities, including supporting general operations, paying staff, ensuring the functionality of libraries (including paying for deep cleaning and coronavirus supplies) and supporting the continued development of, and training of library staff on, best practices for safe handling of library materials and ways to sustain reopening and operations.
To safely provide access to computers, printers, copiers, and other technology in libraries, to expand digital network access, purchase and lend internet access devices (such as laptops and hotspots) and purchase and lend digital resources, and to provide technical support services for uses in the library and for those using borrowed devices remotely.
Strengthen and expand services and resources relating to early education and literacy distance learning and education (including through partnerships with public schools to ensure continuity of education and address learning loss), adult education, job searches and resume building, workforce development and skills training, economic and business development, health information, digital literacy skills and financial literacy.
Ensure access to government and community services, cultural resources, and related functions and activities.
Resolution 134 Urging State Government to Choose Financial Solutions Without Imposing A State Property Tax was also passed by a 5-0 vote.
The resolution addressed the anticipated $10 Billion shortfall in revenues for the remainder of 2020, as well New Jersey COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act, which would authorize the state to issue bonds totaling $5 billion and authorize borrowing from the Federal Government. If insufficient funding for these bunds is collected through the State Sales Tax, and if the State Treasurer determines there is a projected shortfall, a state property tax will be added to every property owner’s annual property tax bill
Should it be determined that after the annual tax is collected that sufficient sales taxes had been collected to fund the COVID-19 Emergency Bond interest and principal payments, the State Property Tax shall be used by the state for general purposes.
The resolution states that this is simply an excuse to create a State Property Tax. New Jersey already has some of the highest property taxes in the nation, and that senior citizens are particularly adversely affected by property tax hikes. It also stated that increasing the property tax will increase the number of homeowners who either sell their homes to move out of state, or for those unemployed due to the pandemic to lose their homes to foreclosure.
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