Voters in New Jersey approved a constitutional amendment on Election Day to permanently fund open space programs in the state. The measure passed by a vote of 65 percent. It was the 14th time the state’s voters have approved open space funding at the ballot.
The amendment allocates 4 percent of the state’s existing business tax to open space, farmland, and historic preservation–increasing to 6 percent by 2019. It is expected to generate $2.15 billion over the next 20 years for open space, farmland, and historic preservation.
The measure was referred to the ballot at the last possible moment in August, after three years of efforts by legislative leaders of both parties and the New Jersey Keep It Green coalition.
The Trust for Public Land Action Fund sponsored the legislative advocacy and ballot measure campaign by the coalition, which includes more than 185 land conservation, environmental, agricultural, hunting and fishing, and outdoor recreation organizations.
“The Coalition is extremely grateful to environmental champions Senators Smith and Bateman and Assemblyman John McKeon for their tireless commitment to protecting New Jersey’s natural resources and to Senate and Assembly leadership for providing voters the opportunity to pass this historic measure,” said NJ Keep It Green Chairman Tom Gilbert.
“The successful passage of Question 2 is a bi-partisan victory for all of New Jersey,” said Senator Christopher ‘Kip’ Bateman. “The Green Acres, Blue Acres, farmland and historic preservation programs have touched every part of our state, making our communities better places to live, work and raise our families.”
“This is a win for the future of New Jersey–for our economy, for our quality of life, for our children and grandchildren,? said Assemblyman John McKeon. “We only have a million acres left, and the funding this measure provides will help us protect those acres and continue our proud preservation legacy.”