A Cap on Tax Money for Open Space?

Senate panel OKs open space ballot question

Lawmakers hoping to get an open space funding question on the November ballot are planning to introduce a new resolution.

New Jersey Assemblyman John McKeon (D) says the new version coming Thursday would ask voters to dedicate a tiny portion of sales tax revenue to open space, up to $200 million a year.

The prior proposal passed the state Senate overwhelmingly but hit a snag in the Assembly because it had no cap.

It was pulled from Monday's Assembly agenda after concerns were raised that the total dedication would be $17 billion over the 30-year life of the proposal.

Final votes on the new proposal cannot be taken for 20 days.  

“Yes” votes are needed from 48 of 80 Assembly members and 24 of 40 senators to get it on the ballot this fall.

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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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