Senate Advances Bill to Allocate Voter Approved Open Space, Farmland, and Historic Preservation Funding

NJ Keep It Green, the state’s largest coalition of conservation, agriculture and historic preservation organizations, applauded the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today for voting to approve implementing legislation. This measure will ensure that corporate business tax (CBT) revenues constitutionally dedicated to preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s land, water and historic resources last fall, are used as intended by the voters. NJ Keep It Green (KIG) testified before the Senate Budget and Appropriations as it considered S2769 that would allocate CBT revenues between the Green Acres, farmland and historic preservation programs going forward.

“Implementing legislation for the 2014 voter approved funds is necessary to ensure that those funds are spent in a predictable, reliable, and transparent manner,” said Ed Potosnak, NJ KIG Chair. S2769, Sponsored by Senators Smith and Bateman, was approved by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee in March.  S2769 now moves to the full NJ Senate for a vote. The companion bill A4203 has been referred to the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste committee and is sponsored by Assemblywoman Spencer and Assemblyman McKeon. 

In November 2014, 65 percent of NJ 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 4 percent of existing corporate business tax revenues to preservation and environmental programs through fiscal year 2019, and dedicating an additional 2 percent of existing corporate business tax revenues from fiscal year 2020 going forward.  The measure provides reduced, but stable annual funding for the depleted Green Acres, Blue Acres, farmland and historic preservation programs, as well as programs to improve water quality, remove and clean up underground storage tanks, remediate  brownfields, and clean-up polluted sites.   

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