The options to fund preservation of New Jersey's open spaces and farmland are diminishing. In a press conference on Friday, Gov. Chris Christie ruled out a proposal being pushed in the state Senate that would divert up to $200 million in sales tax revenue each year over 30 years to protect open space and farmland and to preserve historic structures.
“I think it’s a bad idea,’’ Christie said in a response to a question about the proposal -- one being lobbied for by a wide coalition of conservation, recreational, and farm groups. “Belly up to the bar and come up with a better idea.’’
The proposal, (SCR-165), cleared the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Thursday with bipartisan support. On the same day the Assembly Budget Committee cleared, also with Republicans backing, a Democratic bill, (A-4581), that would ask voters to approve a $200 million bond issue on the ballot this fall. Christie did not offer his view on that proposal, which is backed by some environmental organizations. The governor’s comments add to the question of whether the state will come up with a plan to fund its widely popular open-space program, which is virtually broke.
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