New Jersey legislators give voters say on open space
TRENTON, New Jersey: Voters will have a chance to voice their opinion on a "open space bond measure" on the November 2009 ballot, after New Jersey legislators overwhelming voted in favor of the measure last week. The bill calls for voters to decided if the state should borrow $400 million to preserve open space, farmland, and historic areas. With strong bi-partisan support the bill passed by 26-7 in the Senate and 66-9 in the Assembly. In 2007, $200 million was approved by voters for the Garden State Preservation Trust. Those funds run out this July. "The overwhelming bi-partisan support of the measure speaks to the fact that New Jersey voters value the importance of open space to the economy, to our environment and to our quality of life," said Assemblyman John McKeon. Environmental groups strongly support the measure but worry that voters will reject the bill and favor an alternative funding source, such as a tax or fee. Some lawmakers said that they too are concerned about the bills timing. "It is not right to put debt before the people for approval without telling them how far in the hole they already are," said Assemblyman Richard Merkt.
- The Philadelphia Inquirer, "N.J. voters to decide whether to fund open space," June 26, 2009
- Politicker NJ, "McKeon:Overwhelming bi-partisan support in assembly speaks to importance of 'open space' to N.J. voter," June 25, 2009
- Asbury Park Press, "Voters to decide $400 million open space proposal," June 25, 2009