Trenton – In an urgent statement, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg pressed Governor Phil Murphy to line item veto language in the three-month budget extension that would permit certain parts of Liberty State Park to be privatized:
“Advocates have fought for years to keep Liberty State Park free from private development and open to all,” Senator Weinberg said. “They have worked far too hard to have their efforts thwarted by a few lines buried in an emergency, never-before-done budget at the crest of a global pandemic. This was a sneaky, backdoor way to attempt to change important public policy and I urge the Governor to line time veto the language before he signs the bill.”
The language referenced by Senator Weinberg is the following:
“… on or before September 1, 2020, the Department of Environmental Protection shall issue a solicitation to engage the private for-profit and non-profit sector in reducing maintenance and capital investment backlog and environmental remediation at state parks in order to facilitate enhanced cultural, recreational and local economic opportunities for New Jersey residents through appropriate means including leaseholds.”
“New Jersey is attempting to navigate entirely unchartered waters and needs to focus on the essential business of keeping people safe, keeping our economy afloat and supporting the people who have been affected the most by this virus. This was a shameful sleight of hand by a couple of paid lobbyists and it is simply not how these things should be done – not ever, but certainly not now,” Senator Weinberg concluded.