New Jersey residents have supported preserving open space for years by approving all statewide open space bond questions since 1961. New Jersey residents understand that the most densely populated state in the union needs open space to increase the opportunities for municipalities and counties to build parks, to raise property values of neighboring houses and to protect against damage from storms like Super-Storm Sandy. In addition, preservation of open spaces has economic and environmental benefits. Studies have shown that for every $1 invested in New Jersey’s land preservation programs, the return on investment can be as much as $10 in economic value. 1 Therefore it’s exciting news that New Jersey Legislature has passed legislation to fund open space and farmland preservation for the next 30 years by dedicating a small portion of the state’s sales tax revenues.
On December 12, 2013, the Assembly’s passed (with 46 Yeas to 33 Nays) a one-year, $200 million bond measure. The same day, the Senate held a committee hearing that would dedicate 2.4 percent of NJ’s state sales tax revenue for the next 30 years, capped at $200 million each year, for the preservation of open space and farmland and historic preservation. Once again this bill passed with 26 Yeas and 14 Nays. For further information regarding this bill see https://legiscan.com/NJ/text/SCR165/2012.