N.J. Colleges, Unions Spent $2M Pushing Higher Education Bond Question

Ann McClure's picture

A coalition of New Jersey colleges, state labor unions and corporations spent more than $2 million to help persuade voters to pass the historic $750 million higher education bond question on last month's ballot, according to state election reports.

The money — the equivalent of about $1 for every vote cast on the bond question — went toward ads, mailings, consultants and other behind-the-scenes work to convince voters to approve millions in state borrowing to build new classrooms and labs on college campuses.

Supporters say it was money well spent. More than 63 percent of voters cast their ballots in favor of the question Nov. 6. New Jerseyans approved the measure despite fears the sputtering economy and the cost of Hurricane Sandy would scare voters away from increasing the state debt to help the colleges.

The passage of the bond question is expected to spur a statewide campus building boom as New Jersey's public, private and community colleges dip into the state money to construct and renovate buildings.

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