The New Jersey Senate approved, with strong bipartisan support, a bill to appropriate the voter approved funds for open space, farmland, and historic preservation and stewardship. New Jersey Keep It Green (NJ KIG), the state's largest coalition of conservation and historic preservation organizations, commends the Senate for voting to pass S969. This bill ensures that corporate business tax (CBT) revenues constitutionally dedicated to preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s land, water and historic resources are used as intended by the voters. NJ Keep It Green urges members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and the full Legislature to vote on the bill swiftly. S969/A780 is sponsored by Senators Smith and Bateman, and Assembly members Andrzejczak, McKeon, Spencer, Pintor Marin, Dancer, Vainieri Huttle, and Land.
"Today's approval of this bill brings us one step closer to ensuring the 2014 voter approved funds are used by the State of New Jersey, distributed to counties, municipalities, and nonprofits to preserve and care for the last remaining open spaces in the Garden State," said Ed Potosnak, NJ KIG Chair. "Until the full Assembly acts and the legislation is signed into law, none of the voter-approved money will be invested in critically important preservation work," Potosnak concluded.
In November 2014, 65 percent of New Jersey voters approved Public Question 2 and established stable funding for the preservation and stewardship of open space, parks, farms, historic and flood-prone areas by dedicating four percent of existing corporate business tax revenues to preservation and environmental programs through fiscal year 2019, and dedicating an additional two percent of existing corporate business tax revenues from fiscal year 2020 going forward.
"We appreciate that the Senate moved quickly, and in bipartisan fashion, to advance the open space implementation bill. This bill is a fair compromise which was developed through a lengthy and inclusive process and we are grateful for the strong bipartisan leadership of Senators Smith and Bateman to secure the release of open space funds to build new community parks, preserve critical open spaces, and protect our family farms," Kelly Mooij, NJ KIG Coordinator.