Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

No 'Green' for Green

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

No 'Green' for Green

Article excerpt

NEW JERSEYANS, as overtaxed as they are, have never said no to more spending when it comes to preserving open space. The Green Acres program has enabled communities across the state to protect valuable natural resources from development. The program needs funding, and unless a last-minute miracle occurs in the state Assembly by Monday, there will be no dedicated source of revenue to preserve open space in New Jersey.

Monday is the last day for the Assembly to act if a proposal for amending the state constitution to provide permanent funding for Green Acres is to appear on the November ballot. The state Senate passed a measure in June, 36-1.

There are two issues: whether Green Acres funding should be set in stone in the constitution and whether the Assembly should act on the bill. Proponents of the constitutional amendment met with The Record's editorial board earlier this summer. Funding the Green Acres program remains a pressing issue. There is a reason why voters in referendums overwhelmingly support proposals to borrow money to preserve open space: New Jersey is a nearly built-out state. Its precious resources like the Pinelands and its watersheds cannot be lost to development.

Yet we remain cautious about amending the state constitution for such a purpose. Yes, it has been done before, but we see it as a long-term liability for New Jerseyans. The state's economy moves in up-and-down cycles, priorities change in hard times, and locking in a specific amount of money for Green Acres funding by amending the constitution hamstrings future governors and legislatures.

The Legislature could find other ways to fund open-space preservation without amending the constitution. That noted, we would like to see the measure brought before the Assembly for a vote. If there is widespread support for the amendment - which supporters claim - then the Democratic-controlled Assembly should follow the state Senate and approve the measure. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.