Governor wants state out of TV business by Jan. 1
The Christie administration Thursday submitted a proposal to the Legislature to accomplish the sale or transfer of New Jersey Network -- NJN television -- to either a non-profit corporation or to an existing public broadcasting entity.
It's the administration's intention the action will pave a path that will attempt to continue public broadcasting in New Jersey, the governor‘s office stated.
Funding for NJN was reduced in the 2010-11 state budget. Gov. Chris Christie also decided the state should no longer be in the public television business, effective next Jan. 1.
As part of the proposed change, the administration is notifying state public employee unions and the state Civil Service Commission in order to meet the deadline.
The goal of the legislation, tagged the "New Jersey Public Broadcasting System Restructuring Act,'' is to maintain the availability of public broadcasting in New Jersey.
The state 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 required to transfer assets and liabilities;
- Receiving and approving proposals for the transfer of all of the authority's or foundation's assets; and
- Assuring that the successor to NJN can fulfill the responsibilities of maintaining a New Jersey-focused public broadcasting operation.
In addition, the treasurer is given the option to negotiate directly with an existing public broadcasting network in order to increase the likelihood of a public broadcasting presence in New Jersey.
In an effort to help a new NJN succeed, the governor's office stated the administration is committed to working with members of the special legislative task force that was created to examine public broadcasting in New Jersey.
In 1969, Gov. Richard J. Hughes signed the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority Act, which established the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority, which is the current operator of NJN as well as establishing the New Jersey Network Foundation, the fundraising arm.
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM