Using Sales Tax to Preserve Open Space?

Senate panel OKs open space ballot question

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Senate committee has signed off on legislation that would let voters decide whether to dedicate a fraction of sales tax revenues in New Jersey to funding land preservation.

    Land use experts and preservationists voiced support for putting the question to voters this November before the panel approved the measure 4-1 on Monday.

    If approved by voters, the allocation would generate about $200 million a year for the next 30 years.

    The lone dissenting vote, Sen. Jennifer Beck of Monmouth County, says she's concerned other state-funded programs would suffer in a down economy.

    The legislation would dedicate one-thirty fifth of sales collections to the protection of farmland, historic sites and properties prone to flooding.

    The bill must clear both houses of the Legislature by June 30 to get on this year's ballot.

    Voters approved $400 million in borrowing in 2009, but that is nearly all spent.

    The state’s current “Green Acres” program has protected about 640,000 acres of open space in the Garden State since the program was put into place in 1961, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

     


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