The Star-Ledger has endorsed a no vote on a statewide ballot referendum to approve the state borrowing $500 million to make capital improvements to public schools and community colleges. The initiative includes $100 million to help remove lead from drinking water in schools.
“It’s legitimate to issue bonds for one-shot costs that we can pay off over a period of many years, when the investment saves more in the long run,” the editorial board wrote. “But we can’t just borrow billions without finding a way to pay for it, like bumping the sales tax a penny or two, or imposing a fee. And that’s what this is asking you to do. Reject the ballot question.”
Of course, the Star-Ledger editorial board has a better idea.
“Why not include a permanent line item in the state budget to help rid cities of lead in the water, the way we do lead paint? Or pass a law to allow a targeted subsidy program, so the cost of fixing the water system doesn’t land hardest on poor ratepayers?” the newspaper said.