Policy Group Says Smart Money Is In Education

STATE — Rather than cutting taxes, New Jersey policymakers should invest more in proven drivers of economic growth by spending more on public colleges and universities.

Tax cut proposals that are being considered would drain the state’s revenues by about $1.6 billion each year once fully phased in, but that would be a poor use of New Jersey’s resources, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP).

NJPP argues in a series of reports launched today, policymakers should invest in more pressing needs as well as more proven drivers of economic growth to truly create a prosperous New Jersey.

The series, Invest in New Jersey, begins with Make Higher Education Affordable Again, which examines the higher education squeeze brought on by rising demand and falling state support.

“Perennial promises of lower taxes lack credibility and deflect the public conversation away from equipping New Jersey to restore prosperity and better jobs,” says Gordon MacInnes, president of NJPP and co-author of the report.

“Without accessible higher education, improved infrastructure and greater public-private partnerships for research and innovation, New Jersey’s economy will continue to fall behind those of neighboring states that are making those investments,” said MacInnes.

The report finds that the squeeze ultimately results in higher costs for New Jersey’s families and more debt, and it suggests several ways to begin to reverse the squeeze: Increasing Tuition Aid Grant funding; Stabilizing higher education operating budgets by increasing state support; and Investing in innovation.

Future reports in the series will examine spending on crucial infrastructure needs and investing in high-quality preschool for New Jersey’s poor and working families.

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