Can we afford open space?

From the Courier Post Online:

Sales taxes sought to support open space

With the fund for securing open space, farmland and historic sites in the state running dry, two South Jersey lawmakers joined environmentalists Monday to garner support for renewing the Garden State Preservation Trust.

Assemblyman Douglas H. Fisher, D-Bridgeton, and Assemblyman Nelson T. Albano, D-Vineland, have proposed asking voters in November to amend the state Constitution to dedicate $175 million to the trust from sales tax money each year from 2009 through 2038.

The trust would issue up to $1.75 billion in bonds by 2018 and use the sales-tax dedication to repay the debt.

Fisher said because of the rapid rate at which land is being developed in the state — estimated to be 50 acres a day — time is running out to preserve land.

“We have a race against time,” said Fisher. “Once the land is developed, it cannot be returned to its natural state. . . . Every area of the state, from north to south to central, has a stake in this. Every citizen has a claim.”

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