Thanks to everyone for contacting the Senate Environmental Committee which listened to the Friends of LSP and NY/NJ Baykeeper and other state parks advocates and sent legislation to the full Senate which stated that LSP and other state parks will be able to keep the revenue generated in those parks from leases and concessions and also dedicated $15 million to state parks for the next year. The news story is here. We urge the Governor to sign the legislation with these changes to the ballot measure 2 enabling legislation so LSP's budget won't lose a quarter of its budget.

All supporters of Liberty State Park and all state parks, forests and recreation areas
The Ballot Measure 2 Constitutional Amendment language had a pernicious, severely harmful impact on Liberty State Park 
and a disastrous impact on all state parks and forests.

Until Thursday, January 8th at 5pm
THE SENATE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY COMMITTEE  is seeking testimony from the public (original hearing in Trenton was on 12/8) on the implementation of Ballot Measure Public Question 2  with Enabling Legislation - whose language is what this important advocacy is directed to.

The public may address comments and questions to Judith L. Horowitz or Michael R. Molimock, Committee Aides at 609)847-3855, fax (609)292-0561, or e-mail: Written and electronic comments, questions and testimony submitted to the committee by the public, as well as recordings and transcripts, if any, of oral testimony, are government records and will be available to the public upon request.
After reading the background explanation, please cut & paste the 3 recommendations & justifications below, which are excerpts from the Friends statement. 

Without key changes through the Enabling Legislation, the Constitutional amendment jeopardizes the future of LSP and all state parks. The sustainability, operations and future improvement of LSP, as well as all state parks, forests, recreation areas, historic sites and wildlife management areas are at stake. 

We urge you to email or call the Committee leadership to rectify the injustice done especially to LSP and urban areas by the flaws in the constitutional amendment, which amounts to a flagrant case of ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE for the quality of life of the urban residents who use LSP as a peaceful recreation resource, a sanctuary from densely populated Hudson and nearby urban counties, and also it is a flagrant assault on this unique NJ resource, visited annually by over 5 million people from around NJ, our nation and the world. LSP, 

As the amendment reads, state parks will lose all its lease and concession funds - one fourth of LSP's annual budget, approximately $800,000, generated by the marina and two restaurant  leases and the Statue Cruises ferry concession funds - needed for operations and maintenance - will be lost, most likely to purchase open space in rural areas. The amendment destructively ends the guaranteed, dedicated funds for state parks, which was $16 million this past year, and would force the DEP's State Park Service to stand in line and beg for open space funds each year. 


NJ Senate Environment and Energy Committee    
Regarding Enabling Legislation for Constitutional Amendment in Ballot Measure 2  

Dear Judith L. Horowitz or Michael R. Molimock,

The following are recommendations for enabling legislation that will hopefully reverse the inequities to our state parks, forests, recreation areas, historic sites and wildlife management areas.

Recommendation #1:
Dedicate 23% annually or no less than $16 million of the Corporate Business Tax to DEP's capital improvement budget for state parks, forests, recreation areas, historic sites and wildlife management areas. 
23% of the total CBT funds represent approximately $16 million. This amount was previously dedicated to DEP's capital improvement projects annually prior to the passing of Ballot Question #2. This funding will increase overtime as the tax increases. These funds will assist in the capital maintenance and improvements of the state's most important public recreation, open space, historical and cultural resources that DEP is charged with the responsibility of maintaining.

Recommendation #2:
Allow the DEP to hold onto ALL revenue collected from leases, concessions, permits and all other revenue from regulated fees and services derived from state parks, forests, recreation areas and historic sites. Direct the DEP to establish individual revolving financial accounts for each state park, forest, recreation area and historic site unit at its discretion. All fees collected from each park unit should be deposited into the unit"s established revolving account and such funds should support the annual operations of each park unit. 
Currently revenue collected from these sources is returned to the state's general treasury from the DEP. The establishment of revolving accounts and reallocation of the revenue sources would be an important step in establishing a stable source of funding for the operations of each state park, forest, recreation area and historic site. 

Recommendation #3
Require that the revenue generated from Liberty State Park's parking lots be deposited into the Liberty State Park revolving account to help sustain the operation of the park instead of depositing those funds into the state's general treasury. 
Two large parking lots were developed by the state in the 1990's to provide parking for ferry users to the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Science Center. These lots generate approximately $500,000 of net revenue annually. Unfortunately, this revenue goes back to state's general treasury instead of the park operations. These should go toward sustaining Liberty State Park not into the coffers of the state.

Friends of Liberty State Park Full Statement to The Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Enabling Legislation for making Ballot Measure 2's constitutional amendment into law:

Word Version
PDF Version