Monday, January 27, 2014

What do NJ and Blanche Dubois have in common?

 A Streetcar Named Desire characters Blanche Dubois and Stanley Kowalski
 
What do New Jersey and Blanche Dubois have in common?

Before the answer, a little background.

Two competing approaches to the vexing problem of funding open-space, farmland, and historic sites preservation bumped heads in the New Jersey Legislature last session and went nowhere.

One approach takes the traditional route of public bonding. The other would dedicate a portion of the state's sales tax to the purposes above so no future governor could 're-direct' the funds (some dare call it stealing) to other uses (like closing budget gaps).

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A new, two-year term is under way and Senator Bob Smith is the first out of the gate with his bill that takes the sales-tax-dedication approach.

In a pitch for SCR-2 this morning in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, Smith played up a lesser-known feature of the legislation--funding for the purchase of flood-prone properties.
NJ State Senator Bob Smith

Devastated by Hurricane Sandy, he noted that New Jersey has no stable funding source for such buyouts and is relying solely on federal funds--support won't last forever.

What's this got to do with Blanche Dubois, the memorable character in Tennessee Williams's
A Streetcar Named Desire?

Listen to this excerpt from today's hearing.

Related environmental news stories:
Open-Space Funding Debate Spills Over Into New Legislative Term
How to pay to preserve what open space land NJ has left

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