Today, more than a year and a half after 65% of voters overwhelming decided to constitutionally dedicate funds to open space, farmland, and historic preservation, the legislature and Governor reached an agreement that will consistently fund these vital programs. Although Governor Christie initially conditionally vetoed the legislation, a strong bipartisan coalition led by Senators Bateman and Smith worked with the Governor to develop implementation language that addressed the Governor’s concern about Blue Acres while also ensuring money starts flowing and is consistently allocated to State, County, Municipal, and Non-profit projects.
“We are thrilled the Legislature and the Governor were able to strike this deal, which will finally get money on the ground, preserving land as the voters intended,” said Kelly Mooij, coordinator of Keep It Green. “Open space preservation has always been a strong bi-partisan issue supported by the vast majority of New Jerseyans. With this compromise, countless open space, farmland, and historic preservation projects will be able to be completed. This is a win for the citizens of the State, making New Jersey a better place to work, live and raise a family.” she continued.
“Democracy requires cooperation, and today the real winners from the compromise are the families and voters of New Jersey,” said Ed Potosnak, chair of Keep It Green. “The Governor and the Legislature have put forth a piece of legislation that will preserve thousands of acres of land in the most densely populated state in the country, creates the reliable, consistent funding stream necessary for multi-year preservation projects, and above all else ensures this money is spent in a way that is consistent with the will of the voters. We want to specifically thank the Senate President and Speaker for their leadership as well as Senators Smith and Bateman and Assemblymen Andrzejczak, McKeon, and Dancer who have dedicated countless hours advocating for this cause, as well as the many members of the bipartisan coalition who have been working to protect the will of voters in our great State,” he concluded.