TRENTON, NJ – Today, a bill providing necessary implementation language for preservation and stewardship funds advanced out of the Assembly and moved to Governor Murphy’s desk.
The bill (A4477/S2920), sponsored by Assembly members McKeon, Pinkin, and Zwicker; and Senators Smith, Bateman, and Greenstein, concerns the constitutional dedication of corporate business tax revenue to fund preservation programs within New Jersey. If signed by Governor Murphy, the bill will provide guidance for how the funds are spent for preservation and stewardship of open space, parks, farmland and historic sites in the future.
“Preserving and stewarding our land in New Jersey is critical to safeguard our clean drinking water supply, ensure that all New Jerseyan’s have vibrant outdoor recreational spaces, and protect some of the best, most fertile soils in the country, which is why establishing a predictable, transparent funding source has been a top priority,” said Drew Tompkins, Coordinator of the Keep It Green Coalition and Policy Manager at New Jersey Audubon. “We are excited to have received overwhelming bipartisan support for this bill that will continue our state’s successful open space, farmland, and historic preservation programs.”
In November 2014, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly passed a ballot measure to amend the state Constitution, dedicating a percentage of the Corporate Business Tax revenue as a permanent source of funding for the open space, farmland, and historic preservation and stewardship programs. With the newest package of bills passed in December of 2018, the total amount of funding resulting from the 2014 public question is now over $315 million.
“New Jersey’s preservation program is one of the most successful in the country,” said Ed Potosnak, Chair of the Keep It Green Coalition and Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “The efforts of our partners in the Coalition and across the Garden State are so important, which is why preventing any delays in the administration of our preservation and stewardship programs is so critical. We thank Chairman Houghtaling and Speaker Coughlin for their commitment to preserving open spaces in the country’s most densely populated state and moving the bill to a final floor vote. We look forward to Governor Murphy signing this bill into law before June 30th.”
NJ Keep It Green is a coalition of more than 150 park and conservation organizations 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. For more information visit NJKeepItGreen.org. You can also follow us on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram.