NJ Keep It Green today applauded Jersey City Council for adopting a resolution supporting Public Question 2 to dedicate state funds for open space, parks, farmland and historic preservation.
“NJ Keep It Green applauds elected leaders in Jersey City for recognizing the value of investing in open space, parks, farmland and historic sites,” said Tom Gilbert, NJ Keep It Green chairman. “Clearly, they understand the importance of voting Yes on Public Question 2 to protect our water and ensure that children and families have save places to play, access to locally grown food, and opportunities to learn about our state’s rich heritage.”
Public Question 2 asks voters to dedicate existing state funds to protect clean water and ensure that future generations continue to have access to parks, open spaces, farmland and historic treasures. The funding will replenish the now-depleted Green Acres, Blue Acres, farmland and historic preservation programs, and support environmental programs that improve water quality, remove and clean up underground storage tanks, and clean-up polluted sites.
Jersey City and Hudson County have benefited tremendously from the state’s Green Acres program, which has funded the acquisition and revitalization of more than 1,100 state, county and local parks statewide, including Liberty State Park; Hudson County’s Lincoln and Washington Parks; the Harsimus Stem Embankment Reservoir No. 3 and the forthcoming Berry Lane Park.
“The voters approval of Public Question 2 will assure that Jersey City and other New Jersey municipalities have an opportunity to obtain funding for their ongoing open space and recreational needs,” the resolution states.
Public Question 2 ensures stable funding for the preservation and care of open space, parks, farmland, historic sites and flood-prone areas by reallocating 4 percent of existing corporate business tax revenues that are already dedicated to environmental programs through fiscal year 2019 and dedicating an additional 2 percent of existing corporate business tax revenues from fiscal year 2020 going forward.
Open space, farmland and historic preservation programs received an average of $200 million annually under the 1998 Garden State Preservation Trust. Under the ballot question, preservation programs would receive approximately $71 million annually the first four years, and then $117 million annually thereafter, providing reduced but critical baseline funding without raising taxes. In addition, approximately $30 million annually will be provided for programs to improve water quality, remove underground storage tanks before they leak, and clean up polluted sites.
Additionally, for the first time ever, a provision for stewardship is included that will require some funds to go toward helping take better care of the parks and natural areas New Jersey already has. It will fund critical repairs, restoration and improvements to parks, natural areas and lakes, rivers and streams across New Jersey – making it easier for the public to visit and enjoy them.
According to a report by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, more than 650,000 acres still need to be preserved to protect natural and water resources and to provide outdoor recreational opportunities to a growing population. At least an additional 350,000 acres of farmland must be preserved to maintain a viable agriculture industry, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
About NJ Keep It Green NJ Keep It Green is a coalition of more than 185 park and conservation advocates working to create a long-term, dedicated source of funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s natural areas, waterways, parks, farmland and historic sites. NJ Keep It Green led successful campaigns to pass statewide ballot measures in 2006, 2007, and 2009 generating $600 million for state open space, farmland and historic preservation programs. For more information, visit www.njkeepitgreen.org.