ASSEMBLY, No. 3139

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 21, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  SHEILA Y. OLIVER

District 34 (Essex and Passaic)

Assemblyman  JON M. BRAMNICK

District 21 (Morris, Somerset and Union)

Assemblywoman  CELESTE M. RILEY

District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)

Assemblyman  TROY SINGLETON

District 7 (Burlington)

Assemblyman  ALBERT COUTINHO

District 29 (Essex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     “Building Our Future Bond Act”; authorizes the issuance of $750,000,000 in general obligation bonds to finance higher educational capital projects for increasing of academic capacity; appropriates $5,000.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act authorizing the creation of a debt of the State of New Jersey by providing for the issuance of bonds of the State in the aggregate principal amount of $750,000,000 for the purpose of capital project grants for increasing of academic capacity at New Jersey’s public institutions and independent institutions of higher education; authorizing the issuance of refunding bonds; providing the ways and means to pay and discharge the principal of and interest on the bonds; providing for the submission of this act to the people at a general election; and making an appropriation therefor.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Building Our Future Bond Act.”

 

     2.    The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.     New Jersey’s economic competitiveness and prosperity are directly related to the quality and capacity of its colleges and universities.  Higher education is the foundation of this State’s economic well-being as well as being critical in the realization of individual success;

     b.    According to The Report of the Governor’s Task Force on Higher Education issued in December, 2010, New Jersey’s workforce will require more baccalaureate degrees than the workforce of any other state except Massachusetts;

     c.     Also according to the task force report, New Jersey leads the nation in the net outmigration of college-bound students, losing about 30,000 first-year students a year while admitting only about 4,000 students from other states; and the task force highlighted the urgent need to stem the tide of the brightest high school graduates leaving the State to attend college;

     d.    Demographic projections indicate that New Jersey will experience significant growth in its population of 18 to 24-year olds, and the lack of adequate facilities has left institutions of higher education in the State entirely unprepared to accommodate the anticipated growth in student population;

     e.     There has not been a voter-approved higher education bond issue since 1988 and the deferral of State support for the construction and capital maintenance needs of higher education buildings has left the institutions with a critical lack of the academic facilities, such as classrooms, laboratories, and libraries, which are necessary to educate this increased student body, provide the capacity necessary to stem the outmigration of talented students, and ensure the educated workforce necessary to retain and attract business and industry; and

     f.     This convergence of economic competitiveness, increased workforce demands, and demographic trends makes increasing the facilities capacity of institutions of higher education an issue that deserves immediate attention, and requires the investment of the State resources that are necessary to ensure and advance the State’s economic growth and prosperity in this knowledge-based global economy. 

 

     3.    As used in this act:

     “Bonds” mean the bonds authorized to be issued, or issued, under this act.

     “Construct” and “construction” mean the planning, erecting, altering, repairing, purchasing, improving, developing, constructing, reconstructing, extending, rehabilitating, renovating, upgrading, demolishing, and equipping of higher education buildings at public institutions and independent institutions of higher education.

     “Cost” means the expenses incurred in connection with: the acquisition by purchase, lease, or otherwise, the development, and the construction of any project authorized by this act; the acquisition by purchase, lease, or otherwise, and the development of any real or personal property for use in connection with a project authorized by this act, including any rights of interest therein; the execution of any agreements and franchises deemed by the Secretary of Higher Education to be necessary or useful and convenient in connection with any project; the procurement or provision of engineering, architectural design, surveying, inspection, planning, legal, financial, or other professional services, estimates, studies, reports, or advice, including the services of a bond registrar or an authenticating agent; feasibility studies; the issuance of bonds, or any interest or discount thereon; the administrative, organizational, operating, or other expenses incident to the financing and completing of any project authorized by this act; the establishment of a reserve fund or funds for working capital, operating, maintenance, or replacement expenses and for the payment or security of principal or interest on bonds, as the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury may determine; and reimbursement to any fund of the State of moneys which may have been transferred or advanced therefrom to any fund created by this act, or of any moneys which may have been expended therefrom for, or in connection with, any project authorized by this act.

     “Government securities” means any bonds or other obligations which as to principal and interest constitute direct obligations of, or are unconditionally guaranteed by, the United States of America, including obligations of any federal agency, to the extent those obligations are unconditionally guaranteed by the United States of America, and any certificates or any other evidences of an ownership interest in those obligations of, or unconditionally guaranteed by, the United States of America or in specified portions which may consist of the principal of, or the interest on, those obligations.

     “Higher education buildings” means buildings, structures and facilities required for the operation of public institutions and independent institutions of higher education.

     "Independent institutions of higher education" means independent colleges or universities incorporated and located in New Jersey, which by virtue of law or character or license, are nonprofit educational institutions authorized to grant academic degrees and which provide a level of education which is equivalent to the education provided by the State's public institutions of higher education as attested by the receipt of and continuation of regional accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and which are eligible to receive State aid under the provisions of the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, but does not include any educational institution dedicated primarily to the education or training of ministers, priests, rabbis, or other professional persons in the field of religion.

     "Project" means the establishment and construction of higher education buildings and the expansion and construction of additional facilities at, and the acquisition and installation of additional and upgraded equipment for, existing higher education buildings for the purpose of increasing academic capacity, which shall include, but not be limited to, classrooms, laboratories, libraries, computer facilities, and other academic buildings and all property appurtenant thereto, but shall not include dormitories, administrative buildings, athletic facilities, or other revenue-producing facilities.

     "Public institutions of higher education" means Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, the State colleges and universities established pursuant to chapter 64 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, the county colleges, and any other public university or college now or hereinafter established or authorized by law.

     “Public research universities” means Rutgers University-Newark, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Rutgers University-Camden, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and any other public research university now or hereinafter established or authorized by law.

     “Secretary” means the Secretary of Higher Education appointed pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2009, c.308 (C.18A:3B-47).


     4.    The Secretary of Higher Education shall adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968 c.410 (C.52:14B‑1 et seq.), rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this act. 

 

     5.    Bonds of the State of New Jersey are authorized to be issued in the aggregate principal amount of $750,000,000 to be allocated as grants for the costs of projects as follows:

     a.     $300,000,000 for the public research universities;

     b.    $247,500,000 for the State colleges and universities established pursuant to chapter 64 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes;

     c.     $150,000,000 for the county colleges; and

     d.    $52,500,000 for the independent institutions of higher education, other than an independent institution having a total endowment of more than $1,000,000,000.       

     e.     (1)  For any project approved by the secretary which is financed by bond funds set forth in subsections a. and b. of this section, the grant shall support 75% of the cost of the project and the public research university or the State college or university shall provide funds to support 25% of the cost of the project.

     (2)   For any project approved by the secretary which is financed by bond funds set forth in subsections c. and d. of this section, the grant shall support 50% of the cost of the project and the county college or the independent institution of higher education shall provide funds to support 50% of the cost of the project.

     f.     Procedures for the review and approval of, and eligibility criteria for, grants shall be established by the secretary. An institution of higher education shall submit a long-range facilities plan that details the facilities needs of the institution and the institution’s plans to address those needs. The institution shall demonstrate how the project to be financed through bond funds advances the goals of the long-range facilities plan, increases the academic capacity of the institution, and provides a direct benefit to students.

     g.     The secretary shall prepare a list of eligible projects. Projects that are deemed construction-ready shall receive priority. The secretary shall submit to the presiding officers of each House of the Legislature on a date that both Houses are in session a copy of the list of eligible projects along with the amount of the grant for each project. The list shall be deemed to be approved in its entirety unless the Legislature adopts a concurrent resolution stating that the Legislature is not in agreement with the list within 60 days following the date of transmittal of the list to the Legislature. The payment of project grants on the list of projects shall be subject to the prior appropriation of sufficient funds pursuant to section 15 of this act for total project amounts so listed.


     6.    The bonds authorized under this act shall be serial bonds, term bonds, or a combination thereof, and shall be known as “Building Our Future Bonds.”  They shall be issued from time to time as the issuing officials herein named shall determine and may be issued in coupon form, fully‑registered form or book‑entry form.  The bonds may be subject to redemption prior to maturity and shall mature and be paid not later than 35 years from the respective dates of their issuance.

 

     7.    The Governor, the State Treasurer and the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury, or any two of these officials, herein referred to as “the issuing officials,” are authorized to carry out the provisions of this act relating to the issuance of bonds, and shall determine all matters in connection therewith, subject to the provisions of this act.  If an issuing official is absent from the State or incapable of acting for any reason, the powers and duties of that issuing official shall be exercised and performed by the person authorized by law to act in an official capacity in the place of that issuing official.

 

     8.    Bonds issued in accordance with the provisions of this act shall be a direct obligation of the State of New Jersey, and the faith and credit of the State are pledged for the payment of the interest and redemption premium thereon, if any, when due, and for the payment of the principal thereof at maturity or earlier redemption date.  The principal of and interest on the bonds shall be exempt from taxation by the State or by any county, municipality or other taxing district of the State.

 

     9.    The bonds shall be signed in the name of the State by means of the manual or facsimile signature of the Governor under the Great Seal of the State, which seal may be by facsimile or by way of any other form of reproduction on the bonds, and attested by the manual or facsimile signature of the Secretary of State, or an Assistant Secretary of State, and shall be countersigned by the facsimile signature of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury and may be manually authenticated by an authenticating agent or bond registrar, as the issuing official shall determine.  Interest coupons, if any, attached to the bonds shall be signed by the facsimile signature of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury.  The bonds may be issued notwithstanding that an official signing them or whose manual or facsimile signature appears on the bonds or coupons has ceased to hold office at the time of issuance, or at the time of the delivery of the bonds to the purchaser thereof.


     10.  a.  The bonds shall recite that they are issued for the purposes set forth in section 5 of this act, that they are issued pursuant to this act, that this act was submitted to the people of the State at the general election next occurring at least 70 days after enactment as specified in section 23 of this act, and that this act was approved by a majority of the legally qualified voters of the State voting thereon at the election.  This recital shall be conclusive evidence of the authority of the State to issue the bonds and their validity.  Any bonds containing this recital shall, in any suit, action or proceeding involving their validity, be conclusively deemed to be fully authorized by this act and to have been issued, sold, executed and delivered in conformity herewith and with all other provisions of laws applicable hereto, and shall be incontestable for any cause.

     b.    The bonds shall be issued in those denominations and in the form or forms, whether coupon, fully-registered or book-entry, and with or without provisions for interchangeability thereof, as may be determined by the issuing officials.

 

     11.  When the bonds are issued from time to time, the bonds of each issue shall constitute a separate series to be designated by the issuing officials.  Each series of bonds shall bear such rate or rates of interest as may be determined by the issuing officials, which interest shall be payable semiannually; except that the first and last interest periods may be longer or shorter, in order that intervening semiannual payments may be at convenient dates.

 

     12.  The bonds shall be issued and sold at the price or prices and under the terms, conditions and regulations as the issuing officials may prescribe, after notice of the sale, published at least once in at least three newspapers published in this State, and at least once in a publication carrying municipal bond notices and devoted primarily to financial news, published in this State or in the city of New York, the first notice to appear at least five days prior to the day of bidding.  The notice of sale may contain a provision to the effect that any bid in pursuance thereof may be rejected.  In the event of rejection or failure to receive any acceptable bid, the issuing officials, at any time within 60 days from the date of the advertised sale, may sell the bonds at a private sale at such price or prices under the terms and conditions as the issuing officials may prescribe.  The issuing officials may sell all or part of the bonds of any series as issued to any State fund or to the federal government or any agency thereof, at a private sale, without advertisement.

 

     13.  Until permanent bonds are prepared, the issuing officials may issue temporary bonds in the form and with those privileges as to their registration and exchange for permanent bonds as may be determined by the issuing officials.


     14.  The proceeds from the sale of bonds used to provide grants to public institutions and independent institutions of higher education as set forth in section 5 of this act shall be paid to the State Treasurer, shall be held by the State Treasurer in a separate fund, and shall be deposited in such depositories as may be selected by the State Treasurer to the credit of the fund, which fund shall be known as the “Building Our Future Fund.”

 

     15.  a.  The moneys in the “Building Our Future Fund” are specifically dedicated and shall be applied to the cost of providing  grants to New Jersey’s public institutions and independent institutions of higher education for projects as set forth in section 5 of this act.  However, no moneys in the fund shall be expended for those purposes, except as otherwise authorized by this act, without the appropriation thereof by the Legislature, but bonds may be issued as herein provided, notwithstanding that the Legislature shall not have then adopted an act making an appropriation of any of the moneys. 

     b.    At any time prior to the issuance and sale of bonds under this act, the State Treasurer is authorized to transfer from any available moneys in any fund of the treasury of the State to the credit of the “Building Our Future Fund” those sums as the State Treasurer may deem necessary.  The sums so transferred shall be returned to the same fund of the treasury of the State by the State Treasurer from the proceeds of the sale of the first issue of bonds.

     c.     Pending their application to the purposes provided in this act, the moneys in the “Building Our Future Fund” may be invested and reinvested as are other trust funds in the custody of the State Treasurer, in the manner provided by law. Net earnings received from the investment, reinvestment, or deposit of moneys in the “Building Our Future Fund” shall be paid into the General Fund.

 

     16.  If any coupon bond, coupon or registered bond is lost, mutilated or destroyed, a new bond or coupon shall be executed and delivered of like tenor, in substitution for the lost, mutilated or destroyed bond or coupon, upon the owner furnishing to the issuing officials evidence satisfactory to them of the loss, mutilation or destruction of the bond or coupon, the ownership thereof, and security, indemnity and reimbursement for expenses connected therewith, as the issuing officials may require.

 

     17.  The accrued interest, if any, received upon the sale of the bonds shall be applied to the discharge of a like amount of interest upon the bonds when due.  Any expense incurred by the issuing officials for advertising, engraving, printing, clerical, authenticating, registering, legal or other services necessary to carry out the duties imposed upon them by the provisions of this act shall be paid from the proceeds of the sale of the bonds by the State Treasurer, upon the warrant of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury, in the same manner as other obligations of the State are paid.

 

     18.  Bonds of each series issued hereunder shall mature, including any sinking fund redemptions, not later than the 35th year from the date of issue of that series, and in amounts as shall be determined by the issuing officials.  The issuing officials may reserve to the State by appropriate provision in the bonds of any series the power to redeem any of the bonds prior to maturity at the price or prices and upon the terms and conditions as may be provided in the bonds.

 

     19.  Any bond or bonds issued hereunder which are subject to refinancing pursuant to the “Refunding Bond Act of 1985,” P.L.1985, c.74 as amended by P.L.1992, c.182 (C.49:2B-1 et seq.), shall no longer be deemed to be outstanding, shall no longer constitute a direct obligation of the State of New Jersey, and the faith and credit of the State shall no longer be pledged to the payment of the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest on the bonds, and the bonds shall be secured solely by and payable solely from moneys and government securities deposited in trust with one or more trustees or escrow agents, which trustees and escrow agents shall be trust companies or national or state banks having powers of a trust company, located either within or without the State, as provided herein, whenever there shall be deposited in trust with the trustees or escrow agents, as provided herein, either moneys or government securities, including government securities issued or held in book-entry form on the books of the Department of Treasury of the United States, the principal of and interest on which when due will provide money which, together with the moneys, if any, deposited with the trustees or escrow agents at the same time, shall be sufficient to pay when due the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest due and to become due on the bonds on or prior to the redemption date or maturity date thereof, as the case may be; provided the government securities shall not be subject to redemption prior to their maturity other than at the option of the holder thereof.  The State of New Jersey hereby covenants with the holders of any bonds for which government securities or moneys shall have been deposited in trust with the trustees or escrow agents as provided in this section that, except as otherwise provided in this section, neither the government securities nor moneys so deposited with the trustees or escrow agents shall be withdrawn or used by the State for any purpose other than, and shall be held in trust for, the payment of the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest to become due on the bonds; provided that any cash received from the principal or interest payments on the government securities deposited with the trustees or escrow agents, to the extent the cash will not be required at any time for that purpose, shall be paid over to the State, as received by the trustees or escrow agents, free and clear of any trust, lien, pledge or assignment securing the bonds; and to the extent the cash will be required for that purpose at a later date, shall, to the extent practicable and legally permissible, be reinvested in government securities maturing at times and in amounts sufficient to pay when due the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest to become due on the bonds on and prior to the redemption date or maturity date thereof, as the case may be, and interest earned from the reinvestments shall be paid over to the State, as received by the trustees or escrow agents, free and clear of any trust, lien or pledge securing the bonds.  Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein:  a.  the trustees or escrow agents shall, if so directed by the issuing officials, apply moneys on deposit with the trustees or escrow agents pursuant to the provisions of this section, and redeem or sell government securities so deposited with the trustees or escrow agents, and apply the proceeds thereof to (1) the purchase of the bonds which were refinanced by the deposit with the trustees or escrow agents of the moneys and government securities and immediately thereafter cancel all bonds so purchased, or (2) the purchase of different government securities; provided however, that the moneys and government securities on deposit with the trustees or escrow agents after the purchase and cancellation of the bonds or the purchase of different government securities shall be sufficient to pay when due the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest on all other bonds in respect of which the moneys and government securities were deposited with the trustees or escrow agents on or prior to the redemption date or maturity date thereof, as the case may be; and b. in the event that on any date, as a result of any purchases and cancellations of bonds or any purchases of different government securities, as provided in this sentence, the total amount of moneys and government securities remaining on deposit with the trustees or escrow agents is in excess of the total amount which would have been required to be deposited with the trustees or escrow agents on that date in respect of the remaining bonds for which the deposit was made in order to pay when due the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest on the remaining bonds, the trustees or escrow agents shall, if so directed by the issuing officials, pay the amount of the excess to the State, free and clear of any trust, lien, pledge or assignment securing the refunding bonds.

 

     20.  Refunding bonds issued pursuant to P.L.1985, c.74 as amended by P.L.1992, c.182 (C.49:2B-1 et seq.) may be consolidated with bonds issued pursuant to section 5 of this act or with bonds issued pursuant to any other act for purposes of sale.


     21.  To provide funds to meet the interest and principal payment requirements for the bonds and refunding bonds issued under this act and outstanding, there is appropriated in the order following:

     a.     Revenue derived from the collection of taxes under the “Sales and Use Tax Act,” P.L.1966, c.30 (C.54:32B-1 et seq.), or so much thereof as may be required; and

     b.    If, at any time, funds necessary to meet the interest, redemption premium, if any, and principal payments on outstanding bonds issued under this act are insufficient or not available, there shall be assessed, levied and collected annually in each of the municipalities of the counties of this State, a tax on the real and personal property upon which municipal taxes are or shall be assessed, levied and collected, sufficient to meet the interest on all outstanding bonds issued hereunder and on the bonds proposed to be issued under this act in the calendar year in which the tax is to be raised and for the payment of bonds falling due in the year following the year for which the tax is levied.  The tax shall be assessed, levied and collected in the same manner and at the same time as are other taxes upon real and personal property.  The governing body of each municipality shall cause to be paid to the county treasurer of the county in which the municipality is located, on or before December 15 in each year, the amount of tax herein directed to be assessed and levied, and the county treasurer shall pay the amount of the tax to the State Treasurer on or before December 20 in each year.

     If on or before December 31 in any year, the issuing officials, by resolution, determine that there are moneys in the General Fund beyond the needs of the State, sufficient to pay the principal of bonds falling due and all interest and redemption premium, if any, payable in the ensuing calendar year, the issuing officials shall file the resolution in the office of the State Treasurer, whereupon the State Treasurer shall transfer the moneys to a separate fund to be designated by the State Treasurer, and shall pay the principal, redemption premium, if any, and interest out of that fund as the same shall become due and payable, and the other sources of payment of the principal, redemption premium, if any, and interest provided for in this section shall not then be available, and the receipts for the year from the tax specified in subsection a. of this section shall be considered and treated as part of the General Fund, available for general purposes.

 

     22.  Should the State Treasurer, by December 31 of any year, deem it necessary, because of the insufficiency of funds collected from the sources of revenues as provided in this act, to meet the interest and principal payments for the year after the ensuing year, then the State Treasurer shall certify to the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury the amount necessary to be raised by taxation for those purposes, the same to be assessed, levied and collected for and in the ensuing calendar year.  The director shall, on or before March 1 following, calculate the amount in dollars to be assessed, levied and collected in each county as herein set forth.  This calculation shall be based upon the corrected assessed valuation of each county for the year preceding the year in which the tax is to be assessed, but the tax shall be assessed, levied and collected upon the assessed valuation of the year in which the tax is  assessed and levied.  The director shall certify the amount to the county board of taxation and the treasurer of each county.  The county board of taxation shall include the proper amount in the current tax levy of the several taxing districts of the county in proportion to the ratables as ascertained for the current year.

 

     23.  For the purpose of complying with the provisions of the State Constitution, this act shall be submitted to the people at the general election next occurring at least 70 days after enactment.  To inform the people of the contents of this act, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of State, after this section takes effect, and at least 60 days prior to the election, to cause this act to be published at least once in one or more newspapers of each county, if any newspapers be published therein and to notify the clerk of each county of this State of the passage of this act; and the clerks respectively, in accordance with the instructions of the Secretary of State, shall have printed on each of the ballots the following:

     If you approve of the act entitled below, make a cross (x), plus (+), or check ( a ) mark in the square opposite the word "Yes."

     If you disapprove of the act entitled below, make a cross (x), plus (+), or check ( a ) mark in the square opposite the word "No."

     If voting machines are used, a vote of "Yes" or "No" shall be equivalent to these markings respectively.


 

 

 

BUILDING OUR FUTURE BOND ACT

 

 

 

 

YES

 

Do you approve the “Building Our Future Bond Act”? This bond act authorizes the State to issue bonds in the aggregate principal amount of $750 million to provide matching grants to New Jersey’s colleges and universities. Money from the grants will be used to build, equip and expand higher education facilities for the purpose of increasing academic capacity.

 

 

 

INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NO

Approval of this act will allow the State to issue bonds in the total principal amount of $750 million. Proceeds from the bonds will be used to provide grants to New Jersey’s public and independent colleges and universities to construct and equip higher education buildings to increase academic capacity.  

Bond proceeds will be allocated as follows:

·        $300 million for public research universities;

·        $247.5 million for State colleges and other State universities;

·        $150 million for county colleges; and

·        $52.5 million for independent institutions with an endowment of $1 billion or less.

Public research universities and State colleges and universities which receive grants will be required to provide funds to support 25% of a project. County colleges and independent institutions of higher education will be required to provide funds to support 50% of a project.

 

 

 

 

     The fact and date of the approval or passage of this act, as the case may be, may be inserted in the appropriate place after the title in the ballot.  No other requirements of law of any kind or character as to notice or procedure, except as herein provided, need be adhered to.

     The votes so cast for and against the approval of this act, by ballot or voting machine, shall be counted and the result thereof returned by the election officer, and a canvass of the election had in the same manner as is provided for by law in the case of the election of a Governor, and the approval or disapproval of this act so determined shall be declared in the same manner as the result of an election for a Governor, and if there is a majority of all the votes cast for and against it at the election in favor of the approval of this act, then all the provisions of this act not made effective theretofore shall take effect forthwith.

 

     24.  There is appropriated the sum of $5,000 to the Department of State for expenses in connection with the publication of notice pursuant to section 23 of this act.

 

     25.  The Secretary of Higher Education shall submit to the State Treasurer and the New Jersey Commission on Capital Budget and Planning with the secretary's annual budget request a plan for the expenditure of funds from the “Building Our Future Fund” for the upcoming fiscal year.  This plan shall include the following information:  a performance evaluation of the expenditures made from the funds to date; a description of programs planned during the upcoming fiscal year; a copy of the regulations in force governing the operation of programs that are financed, in part or in whole, by funds from the “Building Our Future Fund”; and an estimate of expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year.

 

     26.  Immediately following the submission to the Legislature of the Governor's annual budget message, the secretary shall submit to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), and to the Joint Budget Oversight Committee, or its successor, copies of the plan called for under section 25 of this act, together with such changes therein as may have been required by the Governor's budget message.

 

     27.  Except as otherwise provided by this act, all appropriations from the “Building Our Future Fund” established by this act shall be by specific allocation for each project, and any transfer of any funds so appropriated shall require the approval of the Joint Budget Oversight Committee or its successor.

 

     28.  This section and sections 23 and 24 of this act shall take effect immediately and the remainder of this act shall take effect as and when provided in section 23 of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill, entitled the “Building Our Future Bond Act,” authorizes the issuance of $750,000,000 in State general obligation bonds. Proceeds from the bonds will be used to provide grants to New Jersey’s public institutions and independent institutions of higher education to construct and equip higher education facilities. The $750,000,000 in bond proceeds would be allocated as grants for the costs of projects in the following manner:

     (1)   $300,000,000 for the public research universities;

     (2)   $247,500,000 for the State colleges and universities established pursuant to chapter 64 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes;

     (3)   $150,000,000 for the county colleges; and

     (4)   $52,500,000 for the independent institutions of higher education, other than an independent institution having a total endowment of more than $1,000,000,000.       

     The bill requires public research universities and State colleges and universities which receive capital project grants to provide institutional funds in an amount to support 25% of the cost of the project, and for county colleges and independent institutions of higher education which receive capital project grants to provide institutional funds in an amount to support 50% of the cost of the project.  

     The Secretary of Higher Education will establish procedures for the review and approval of, and eligibility criteria for, capital project grants.  Under the bill, an institution of higher education must submit a long-range facilities plan that details the facilities needs of the institution and the institution’s plans to address those needs. The institution is required to demonstrate how the project advances the goals of the long-range facilities plan, increases the academic capacity of the institution, and provides a direct benefit to students.

     The bill stipulates that only projects which increase the academic capacity of the institutions, such as classrooms, laboratories, libraries, computer facilities, and other academic buildings are eligible. Projects involving dormitories, administrative buildings, athletic facilities or other revenue-producing facilities would not be eligible.       

     Under the bill, the secretary will prepare a list of eligible projects. Projects that are deemed construction-ready will receive priority. The secretary is required to submit to the presiding officers of each House of the Legislature on a date that both Houses are in session a copy of the list of eligible projects along with the amount of the grant for each project. The list will be deemed to be approved in its entirety unless the Legislature adopts a concurrent resolution stating that the Legislature is not in agreement with the list within 60 days following the date of transmittal of the list to the Legislature.

     The bill provides that the bond act is to be submitted to the people for approval at the general election to be held at least 70 days after enactment and appropriates $5,000 to the Department of State for expenses in connection with the publication of the public question.

     New Jersey’s economic competitiveness and prosperity are directly related to the quality and capacity of its colleges and universities. Higher education is the foundation of this State’s economic well-being as well as being critical in the realization of individual success. The State has deferred investment in its system of higher education. There has not been a voter-approved general obligation bond issue dedicated to the higher education infrastructure since 1988.