Lame Duck Alert: RGGI, Open Space CR’s Up Thurs. 12/12!

December 09, 2013

The Senate Environment and Energy Committee will be taking up two fiscally reckless proposals on Thursday, Dec. 12.

RGGI Cap & Trade Constitutional Amendments

Two bills are on the board that would not only force New Jersey back into the failing RGGI Cap & Trade scheme — re-imposing this tax on our electricity bills — but amend our constitution to do so!

SCR162 Amends Constitution to require State’s participation in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. 

SCR146 Amends Constitution to require State’s participation in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and dedicates any revenues realized therefrom to certain clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction programs. 

RGGI is terrible energy and tax policy for New Jersey and should be opposed on those grounds, but abusing and exploiting our state constitution to impose policy decisions is outrageous and destructive of the democratic process.

Liberal leadership in the Legislature has already demonstrated a willingness to bypass the governor by putting the minimum wage on the ballot this past November. This set a terrible precedent and one that should not be allowed to continue without vociferous opposition.

Open Space Constitutional Amendments

The following senate open space bills represent more fiscally reckless proposals that need to be rejected.

SCR165 Amends Constitution to dedicate $200 million, or 2.4 percent, whichever is less, annually from FY2015 to FY2044 of sales and use tax revenue for preservation of open space, including flood prone areas and lands that protect water supplies, farmland, and historic properties.    

A4541 The “Green Acres, Water Supply and Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2014,” authorizes bonds for $200 million; appropriates $5,000.       

SCR165 is a slightly different proposal than one brought forward earlier this year (SCR-160), but the idea is essentially the same. The constitutional amendment would siphon off $200M a year from the sales tax for 30 years — that’s $6 BILLION — for open space.

A4541, which will be heard by the Assembly Budget Committee, also on Thursday morning, would authorize $200M in borrowing for just FY 2015 if approved by voters. While not as egregious as the constitutional amendment, adding to the state’s growing debt problems is also fiscally irresponsible.

With New Jersey facing considerable fiscal and budgetary challenges in the years ahead, these proposals just defy logic and need to be stopped. Furthermore, as AFP noted back in October, open space preservation is a driver of higher property taxes in New Jersey. Simply put: a vote for open space is a vote for higher property taxes!

Senate Environment and Energy
Thursday, December 12, 2013 – 10:00 AM
Meeting – Committee Room 10, 3rd Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

Assembly Budget
Thursday, December 12, 2013 – 10:00 AM
Meeting – Committee Room 11, 4th Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

AFP urges activists to contact these Senate committee members to urge NO votes on each bill!

AFP urges activists to contact the following Assembly Budget members to vote no on the open space measure (A4541).

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