Friday, June 27, 2014

Funding for open space hangs by a thread in New Jersey

Members of NJ Keep it Green, the environmental coalition that has been fighting for
two years to get the state legislature to adopt a dedicated funding source for open
space preservation, experienced the highs and lows of dealing with the state legislature
yesterday in Trenton.

Early in the afternoon, group members were elated when the state Senate provided overwhelming support (35-1) for SCR-84, a bill that would constitutionally dedicate a
portion of corporate business taxes to fund the preservation of open space, farmland,
and historic structures.

Within hours, however, hopes for final passage of the legislation in the Assembly,
before the legislature's summer recess--and in time to get the measure on the
November ballot--were deflated when the Assembly's Democratic leadership
decided not to post it for a vote.

We spoke with Keep it Green's Tom Gilbert before the Assembly adjourned for the day, when there still was hope that the measure might be posted at an Assembly session scheduled for Monday, June 30. Today the Assembly canceled that session. 

Listen here to what Gilbert had to say 

It appears now that the only chance that voters will get to decide the issue in November is
if the Assembly holds another session by early August and the bill is posted and passed.

NJ Keep it Green no doubt will be pulling out all the stops to make that happen.   

Related environmental news stories:
Open space bill sails through Senate, but Assembly deadline looms - NJ Spotlight
Opinion: NJ can't give up on parks, open space preservation - The Times, Trenton
Environmentalists press NJ to include open-space funding question on ballot - Newsworks
EDITORIAL: Put open space bond on ballot -
Smith, Bateman tout bill reallocating corporate tax revenues for open space - PolitickerNJ

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