Monday, November 02, 2009

N.J. ballot measure would maintain program for farmland preservation; opponents object to cost

The Warren County Freeholders in New Jersey are among the latest supporters of a state ballot question that would issue $400 million in bonds to continue funding land preservation for three years, Kevin M. Leciski of the Warren Reporter writes. Public Question No. 1, the Green Acres, Clean Water, and Farmland Preservation Act of 2009, would continue funding land preservation through the Garden State Preservation Trust, which has resulted in more than 314,000 acres of open space and farmland throughout the state being preserved between fiscal years 2000 and 2008. Supporters say the bond would cost $10 per household per year. (Read more)

"During the past 60 years, our Garden State has lost 1 million acres of irreplaceable farmland," former state agriculture commissioner Charles Kuperus writes in an editorial in support of the ballot question for The Star Ledger of Newark. Kuperus admits that "much developed land was used to create the wonderful communities where we live and work," but he says "some has been lost to low-density sprawl." He argues the measure would preserve Jersey agriculture and promote local food. (Read more)

Here's the other side: "While those are certainly laudable causes, with the state's fiscal condition at this time, we can't support it," Jerry Cantrell, president of the New Jersey Taxpayers Association told Carmen Cusido of The Times of Trenton. "The reality is it's an expense we can forgo." Rob Calabro, a Republican Assembly candidate, echoed those sentiments in an email to The Times: "In the midst of skyrocketing property taxes, a record-high unemployment rate, and the state already straddled with $10 billion dollar deficit, now is not the time to borrow money." (Read more)

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