Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to allow taxpayers to make a voluntary contribution in support of local libraries on their gross income tax returns was approved 39-0 Monday by the Senate.
"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). "Libraries are important resources, but many are under constant threat of having to cut back on services and staff. This bill would help 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). "Lack of funding has led to some libraries closing. We cannot let that happen. This bill gives residents the option to help preserve our public libraries by making a contribution when filing their taxes."
The bill (A-1314) 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.