AFP: Let’s Hope It’s “Case Closed” On Open Space Bill

July 30, 2013

AFP: Let’s Hope It’s “Case Closed” on Open Space Bill

Pro-Taxpayer Group Says Taxpayers “Spared” from “Fiscally Reckless” Constitutional Amendment

BOGOTA, NJ – Americans for Prosperity deputy state director Daryn Iwicki has issued the following statement regarding today’s senate vote on SCR-160. The proposed amendment to the state constitution, which would require voter approval, aims to dedicate $200 million in sales and use tax revenues toward open space for the next 30 years.

“Simply put this was a bad deal for the New Jersey tax payer from the start.  We face mounting debt and many New Jerseyans are struggling to provide the basic needs for their families, yet the Legislature opts to throw another $6 billion dollars towards open space. With fiscally reckless ideas such as this one that will only make it more difficult for future lawmakers to solve serious and pressing challenges, I don’t know how those representatives who supported this can look their constituents in the eye and tell them they are making their lives easier.

“Luckily however, taxpayers were spared from having to vote on this irresponsible idea this year.”

SCR-160 garnered 22 votes but fell short of the 24 required in the senate to be placed on the ballot this year. A corresponding vote in the Assembly with three-fifths support would also have been needed.

“Frankly, it’s downright hypocritical that the Senate Majority Leader Sweeney (D-03) wouldn’t even consider tax relief in this year’s budget, yet tried to jam through a bill that would siphon off $200 million a year in sales tax revenue for 30 years for open space.  If you asked the hard-working middle class of this state of what they would do with $200 million dollars a year, the odds on favorite would be lowering their property taxes which they’ve seen go up without relief.

“The folly of this proposed amendment is troubling enough, but perhaps what’s become even more disturbing is the trend by this Legislature to exploit the amendment process in order to achieve what they can’t accomplish through statute. They’re trying it with this bill, they’re trying to do the same thing with the minimum wage this year and they’re even toying with doing the same with the failed RGGI cap-and-trade tax. Our state constitution should not be amended in such nonchalant fashion just so the majority party can enact its policy agenda.”

“New Jersey taxpayers deserve better than this kind of fiscal recklessness and AFP-New Jersey will work to protect their interests by doing everything in our power to make sure this amendment never makes it on the ballot in the future. For the sake of taxpayers, let’s hope it’s cased closed on this ridiculous open space bill.”

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. AFP educates and engages citizens to support restraining state and federal government growth and returning government to its constitutional limits. AFP is more than 2 million activists strong, with activists in all 50 states.  AFP has 34 state chapters and affiliates. More than 85,000 Americans in all 50 states have made a financial contribution to AFP or AFP Foundation. For more information, visit

Americans for Prosperity does not support or oppose candidates for public office.


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