Open space is precious in New Jersey, and most residents understand the importance of preserving it. Voters are so sensitive to the need that they have repeatedly approved tax-hike proposals on local, county and state levels to assure money remains available to secure available land.
So it’s quite likely that New Jerseyans would support a new plan designed to establish a stable, long-term funding source for open space. The proposal has bipartisan backing, spearheaded by Democratic Sen. Bob Smith and Republican Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, and it involves no new money. Instead, a small percentage of corporate business tax revenue that already goes to environmental programs would be redirected toward preservation. An estimated $71 million a year would become available in the first five years — still far below past expenditures. The Senate has overwhelmingly approved a ballot question for a constitutional amendment to enable the plan.