by Leonard Gilroy, Julian Morris
April 14, 2014
The New Jersey Legislature is currently considering a bill that would amend the state Constitution to dedicate six percent of the state’s Corporation Business Tax revenues from FY2016 to FY2045 for the purpose of open space, farmland and historic preservation, and it would send this amendment on the ballot for voter approval in the next general election. In part, the new funding stream would expand the “Blue Acres” program to purchase lands in flood-prone areas, or lands that buffer such properties). Yet the state government already owns nearly 15 percent of New Jersey’s total land area outright. It is unclear why additional land preservation is needed when a significant portion of the state is already off-limits to development. Nor is it clear why there is a rush to lock in three decades of massive funding for land preservation when rapidly rising government retiree pension and debt service costs loom.