The Christie Administration submitted a proposal to the Legislature to accomplish the conversion of New Jersey Network (NJN) from a government body to an independent entity, either to a non-profit corporation or through a sale or transfer of assets to an existing public broadcasting entity. It is the Administration’s intention that this will pave a path that will continue quality public broadcasting in New Jersey.
Funding for New Jersey Network was reduced in the annual 2011 Appropriations Act passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Christie on June 29, 2010. Given the fiscal challenges faced by the State, every part of government was required to sacrifice, including spending reductions in every department. Further, it was determined that the State of New Jersey would no longer be in the public television business, effective January 1, 2011.
As part of the proposed operational changes, the State has initiated the notification process set forth in existing collective negotiation agreements and Civil Service Commission rules and regulations in order to meet the January 1, 2011 timeline.
The primary goal of the legislation, the New Jersey Public Broadcasting System Restructuring Act, is to maintain the availability of public broadcasting in New Jersey. The Department of Treasury will be responsible for executing the plan, including:
· compiling an inventory of the authority’s and foundation’s assets and liabilities;
· identifying the methods or mechanisms required to transfer assets and liabilities;
· receiving and approving proposals for the transfer of any or all of the authority’s or foundation’s assets; and
· assuring that the successor to NJN can fulfill the responsibilities of a maintaining a New Jersey-focused public broadcasting operation.
In addition, the Treasurer is given the option to negotiate directly with an existing public broadcasting entity in order to increase the likelihood of a vibrant public broadcasting presence in New Jersey.
To build a strong and independent NJN the Christie Administration is committed to work with the members of the special legislative task force that was created to examine public broadcasting in New Jersey.
In 1969, Governor Richard J. Hughes signed the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority Act, which established the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority, the current operator of the New Jersey Network as well as establishing the New Jersey Network Foundation as NJN’s fundraising arm.