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Open Space Funding Held

Date : Mon, 24 Jun 2013 16:10:20 -0400

For Immediate Release

June 24, 2013

Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Open Space Funding Held

Today the Assembly held off voting on SCR138 (Smith) that would amend the State Constitution to dedicate $17 billion from sales tax revenue to open space preservation over 30 years. New Jersey's open space funding programs are currently broke with the remaining money already dedicated to projects. Over the last forty years we have financed open space purchases through voter approved bond acts, the last of which passed in 2009.

"New Jersey needs to have a stable long term source of funding for open space.Hopefully the SCR being held today will allow for a sustainable funding program to be put in place.We need a program that will protect open space for future generations without cutting other programs.The funding mechanism should not pit open space versus other environmental programs," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.

If you add up all the state funding for open space from 1996 to today it adds up to around $3 billion dollars and that purchased with other sources about 420,000 acres of land or development rights . So $17 billion was looked on by some in legislative leadership as an overreach. Some thought the Governor would use this as an excuse to cut other programs.Bond Acts 1996 $ 345 million, 2007 $ 200 million, 2009 $400 million and the Whitman program was $1.15 billion in bonding and about $ 980 million or a little lessas pay as you go.The money we spend in the program must be designed to meet the needs we have in New Jersey.

"The Christie administration has cut funding for environmental protection and raided clean energy funds and now has allowed open space to run out of money.The Legislature needs to protect the environment by stopping the raids and coming up with a real fix for open space funding," said Jeff Tittel.

Jeff Tittel concluded, " The Legislature and Governor can come up with money to subsidize development like the Xanadu mall they can come up with a funding source for open space. We must make sure that the most successful government program of the last 50 years continues in a responsible way."

Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2013-06-24 13:10:20

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
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