SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 165

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED DECEMBER 5, 2013

 


 

Sponsored by:Senator  BOB SMITH

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

Senator  CHRISTOPHER "KIP" BATEMAN

District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Whelan, Greenstein, Cunningham and Ruiz

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     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.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


A Concurrent Resolution proposing to amend Article VIII, Section II of the New Jersey Constitution by adding a new paragraph.

 

     Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey (the General Assembly concurring):

 

     1.    The following proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State of New Jersey is agreed to:

 

PROPOSED AMENDMENT

 

     Amend Article VIII, Section II, by adding a new paragraph 9 to read as follows:

     9.    (a) Commencing July 1, 2014, there shall be annually credited in each State fiscal year, until June 30, 2044, to a special account in the General Fund an amount equal to 2.4 percent or the sum of $200,000,000, whichever is less in each fiscal year, from the State revenue annually collected from the State tax imposed under the "Sales and Use Tax Act," P.L.1966, c.30 (C.54:32B-1 et seq.), as amended and supplemented, or from any other State law of similar effect.  The dedication and use of those moneys credited pursuant to this subparagraph from the State revenue annually collected from the State tax imposed under the "Sales and Use Tax Act,” as amended and supplemented, or from any other State law of similar effect, shall be subject and subordinate to (1) all appropriations of revenues from taxes made by laws enacted prior to the effective date of this paragraph in accordance with Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 3 of the State Constitution in order to provide the ways and means to pay the principal and interest on bonds of the State presently outstanding or authorized to be issued under those laws, (2) any other use of those revenues enacted into law prior to the effective date of this paragraph, or (3) the credit of State revenue annually collected from the State tax imposed under the "Sales and Use Tax Act," as amended and supplemented, or from any other State law of similar effect, as required by Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 7 of the State Constitution.

     The amount credited each State fiscal year pursuant to this subparagraph shall be dedicated and shall be appropriated from time to time by the Legislature only to provide funding, including loans or grants, for:  the preservation, including acquisition, development, and stewardship, of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, including lands that protect water supplies and lands that have incurred flood or storm damage or are likely to do so, or that may buffer or protect other properties from flood or storm damage; the preservation and stewardship of farmland for agricultural or horticultural use and production; historic preservation; and administrative costs associated with each of those efforts.

     (b)   All moneys derived from repayments of any loan issued from the amounts dedicated pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph, and all income derived from the investment of moneys in the special account established pursuant to this paragraph, shall be credited to that special account, and shall be dedicated and shall be appropriated from time to time by the Legislature only for the purposes authorized pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph.  Notwithstanding any provision of this paragraph to the contrary, the dedication of moneys derived from loan repayments and investments shall not expire.

     (c)   It shall not be competent for the Legislature, under any pretense whatever, to borrow, appropriate, or use the amounts credited to the special account established pursuant to this paragraph, or any portion thereof, for (1) any purpose or in any manner other than as enumerated in this paragraph, or (2) making payments relating to any bonds, notes, or other obligations.

 

     2.    When this proposed amendment to the Constitution is finally agreed to pursuant to Article IX, paragraph 1 of the Constitution, it shall be submitted to the people at the next general election occurring more than three months after the final agreement and shall be published at least once in at least one newspaper of each county designated by the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly and the Secretary of State, not less than three months prior to the general election.

 

     3.    This proposed amendment to the Constitution shall be submitted to the people at that election in the following manner and form:

     There shall be printed on each official ballot to be used at the general election, the following:

     a.    In every municipality in which voting machines are not used, a legend which shall immediately precede the question as follows:

     If you favor the proposition printed below make a cross (X), plus (+), or check (a) in the square opposite the word "Yes." If you are opposed thereto make a cross (X), plus (+) or check (a) in the square opposite the word "No."

     b.    In every municipality the following question:


 

 

 

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT DEDICATING STATE FUNDS FOR OPEN SPACE, FARMLAND, AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION

 

 

YES

     Do you approve amending the Constitution to dedicate $200 million or 2.4% of State sales tax revenue, whichever is less, each year for the next 30 years for the preservation of open space, farmland, and historic properties?  Open space includes lands that protect water supplies and lands that are prone to flooding.

 

 

NO

INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT

 

 

     This constitutional amendment would provide a stable source of funding for the next 30 years for Green Acres and “Blue Acres” projects, and for the preservation of farmland and historic properties.  The amendment would dedicate $200 million or 2.4%, whichever is less in a given year, of State sales tax revenue each year for the next 30 years for these purposes.

     The Green Acres program acquires land that protects water supplies and preserves open space, including parks, fish and wildlife habitat, and flood prone or affected areas.  It also funds park improvements and facilities.

     “Blue Acres” refers to properties that have been damaged by storms or storm-related flooding, that appear likely to incur such damage, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage.  Structures on properties purchased from willing sellers are demolished, the debris is removed, and the land is preserved as open space.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This constitutional amendment would dedicate $200 million or 2.4 percent, whichever is less in a given year, of State sales and use tax revenue annually for the next 30 years, from Fiscal Year 2015 through Fiscal Year 2044, to finance the State’s programs for open space preservation, farmland preservation, and historic preservation.  The specific allocation for each of these purposes would be established by law.  The amendment also allows for the dedicated monies to be used for stewardship activities and administrative costs associated with the programs.

     The constitutional amendment also recognizes a special funding category under open space preservation, referred to as the “Blue Acres” program, for the acquisition, for recreation and conservation purposes, of lands that have incurred flood or storm damage or are likely to do so, or that may buffer or protect other properties from flood or storm damage.  Properties are purchased from willing sellers only.  The Blue Acres program is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres Program.

     This proposed amendment to the State Constitution would provide a dedicated, stable source of funding to continue the State’s current programs for open space, including flood prone lands, farmland, and historic preservation implemented pursuant to Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 7 of the State Constitution, the “Garden State Preservation Trust Act,” P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et seq.), and various bond acts passed by the voters of this State over the last 50 years.