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Growth in State Budget-Decline in Library Funding
Funding for the library per capita state aid program was drastically cut under Governor Christie’s first budget in FY10. This decline in per capita state aid has taken a toll on local library services. That budget was approximately $28.4 billion. Since that time the state budget has increased over 20% to $34.7 billion; however, the per capita state aid program has remained at this reduced level of $3.6 million. The last state budget saw $14 billion in education funding for students in PreK-12th grades. It also included $2.3 billion in higher education funding.

The vast majority of funding for local libraries comes directly from property taxes. Funding on the local level has also been severely diminished during the past several years because of the recession. Local library funding has been reduced from an average of $67 per capita in 2009 to $57 per capita in 2015. The dual reductions in funding sources had a significant impact on many public libraries.

The increase in the state per capita aid program is needed by every library in New Jersey so that they can provide the diversity of programs and services that residents require to meet the information challenges of the 21st century.