AFP: Time for an Open Mind on Open Space

Jan 24, 2014 by AFP

AFP: Time for an Open Mind on Open Space

NJ taxpayers deserve better than more spending and debt

MONMOUTH JUNCTION, NJ – Americans for Prosperity says it’s time for legislators to bring an open mind to the open space debate.

“Americans for Prosperity believes there is a way to move forward which is both beneficial to the purse of the state and more importantly to the residents of this great state.  What it will take though is an open mind and new direction of thinking on how we care for our parks and preserve our most cherished historical sites,” contended Daryn Iwicki, AFP’s state director.

“The way out of our current situation is not by calling for $6 billion in sales tax to be dedicated for open space in the state.  At a time when we are coming out of a recession, have a state debt mounting and are facing billion dollar pension payments in the coming years, we can ill-afford to be taking much-needed money out of our budget for a net loss program.

“What we need to do is look at a successful setup of public-private-partnerships for our state parks and historic sites.  This is an idea which has been used by the United States Forest Service for 30 years now and other states such as California have implemented this idea to take losses off the books and turn them into gains.  This has allowed them to keep open parks and this idea should be looked at closely for New Jersey as well,” said Iwicki.

“The fact of the matter is no one seems to even know how much open space the state already has. Before we move forward on purchasing even more, let’s properly utilize what we already have. I have seen conservative estimates that the state owns 15% of land outright.  That is 15% less area for a new family to live out their dreams of owning a home.

Iwicki also noted that public-private partnerships are only one part of the solution.

“If we’re really concerned about preserving open space then we have to look at cutting or eliminating the estate and inheritance tax in New Jersey. This tax is making it impossible for families to keep their land because the next of kin are saddled with staggering tax bills they cannot afford to pay. Often, they have no choice but to sell the land off to developers, thus defeating the goal of preserving open space.”

“I look forward to this discussion and I look forward to the hearing to be held on Monday. I hope I get to leave that hearing, call my cousin whose husband is a police officer and let her know the senate cares more about funding your husband’s pension rather than owning land.”

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.