The 15 languages that NJ may start catering to at taxpayer expense (Opinion)
The state Senate just passed a bill that if it becomes law will mandate New Jersey government agencies offer websites and notices and forms in the top 15 non-English languages spoken here.
A main sponsor of the legislation is State Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, and she says it’s to “everyone’s benefit that all residents are kept informed and are aware of services offered by the state regardless of what language they speak. When people are in need, and especially in crisis, they should be able to connect to the resources available to them.”
I’m not sure how that’s to my benefit. I guess I’m not part of everyone? But I digress.
This would cost money and remember, government does not make its own money, it uses yours. Granted, the tens of thousands of dollars the legislation lists as a fiscal impact is negligible in the overall scheme of a runaway state budget. Chris Christie’s last state budget was $35.5 billion. Now Murphy just proposed $53 billion. So forgive me if I want to count every penny.
How many people will this really help?
Overwhelmingly the second most commonly spoken language in New Jersey is Spanish and we’ve already been providing services in that language for many years. See the following information about the top 15 non-English languages spoken in New Jersey and how many speak it and judge for yourself if this is something we as a state should be doing.
You should know there are a total of 150 languages spoken in the Garden State. Will we eventually be woke enough to cater to every single one? Or will we finally realize that the smarter thing to do is help people who immigrate here learn English so we can have a common language and come more together as people?
The top 15 non-English languages spoken in New Jersey:
16.55% of population
Chinese (including Mandarin, Cantonese)
1.44% of population
1.04% of population
0.99% of population
0.96% of population
Tagalog (including Filipino)
0.90% of population
0.89% of population
0.87% of population
0.71% of population
0.68% of population
0.68% of population
0.60% of population
Yoruba, Twi, Igbo, or other languages of Western Africa
0.47% of population
0.44% of population
French (including Cajun)
0.43% of population
Numbers are from 2021 Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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