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Smith: Open Space, Blue Acres Funding Must Be a Priority for the Sake of Future Generations

Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex and Somerset) speaks to the crowd before the Governor signs a bill into law which will allow public entities to make much-needed energy efficiency upgrades through energy savings improvement programs.

Senator Bob Smith, D-Middlesex, sponsor of SCR-165 which would ask voters to dedicate the lesser of $200 million or 2.4 percent of the sales tax revenue annually for the next 30 years for open space projects including Green and Blue Acres projects, farmland, historic preservation and stewardship projects, was approved today by the full Senate. Senator Smith released the following statement regarding the measure:

“As New Jerseyans are now beginning to thaw from the deep freeze of the polar vortex, we are once again reminded that New Jersey needs a long-term plan to prepare for future storm activity associated with climate change.

“While not a cure for these concerns, open space has helped to curb development in the Garden State – the nation’s most densely populated state – and coupled with the Blue Acres program, which offers municipalities the ability to buy up flood prone lands and create buffer zones between flood areas and waterways and their citizens, we have helped reduce pollution, protect recreational areas for our families and kids and improve the quality of life for residents.  Continued funding of these programs is essential for the long-term environmental strategy of the state.

“Funding any program in a time when families and government alike are tightening  their belts is always difficult, but it is the job of the Legislature to prioritize programs that will not just positively impact residents today, but will improve the lives of future generations of New Jerseyans. By passing SCR-165 today, the Senate declares open space funding as one of those vital priorities.”

SCR-166 was approved by the Senate with a vote of 29-8. It now heads to the Assembly for further consideration.

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