Senate Environment and Energy Committee Approves Bill Allocating Voter Designated Open Space, Farmland, and Historic Preservation Funding

NJ Keep It Green, the state's largest coalition of conservation and historic preservation organizations, applauds the NJ Senate Environment and Energy Committee for voting to approve implementing legislation. 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. S969 would provide predictable, reliable and transparent distribution of CBT revenues between the Green Acres, farmland and historic preservation programs going forward. NJ Keep It Green urges members of the Senate Budget Committee and the NJ Assembly to vote on the bill. S969 is sponsored by Senators Smith Senators and Bateman.

"The Senate Environment & Energy Committee's action on this bill, on the first of their hearings of this session, demonstrates the importance of allocating the voter approved funds," said Ed Potosnak, NJ KIG Chair. "The bill provides a clear and open process for distributing voter approved funds to state programs, counties, municipalities, and nonprofits to preserve lands that protect our drinking water, grow Jersey Fresh produce, honor our state and national history, and serve as community parks and wildlife habitat. The urgency to release these voter-dedicated funds increases with each passing day," Potosnak concluded.

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 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're grateful for the tireless leadership of Senators Smith and Bateman in moving forward implementing legislation as a top priority," said Kelly Mooij, NJ KIG Coordinator. Mooij added, "The implementation bill is critical to getting vital and necessary funds flowing to successful programs which preserve lands and create parks."

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