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Bills dedicated to land preservation clear Assembly panel

Looking to maintain New Jersey’s farms and historic lands, Assembly Democrats sponsored a three-bill package which cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Dec. 10, according to a press release.

The first bill (A-4733), sponsored by Assembly members Adam Taliaferro, Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, appropriates $15 million from constitutionally dedicated corporate business tax (CBT) revenues to the State Agricultural Development Committee for municipal planning incentive grants for farmland preservation purposes, according to the press release.

“New Jersey’s farmlands are the foundation for a strong agricultural industry and a way of life for generations of farm families,” said Taliaferro (D-Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland). “Farmland preservation is a key component for our agriculture industry to sustain itself and for it to continue to be a pillar of our state’s economy.”

“Our agriculture industry has been a way of life for generations of New Jerseyans. It is one of the backbones of New Jersey,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “It is our responsibility to provide the municipalities most dependent upon this industry with the resources necessary to keep our farmlands beautiful and functional.”

The second bill (A-4735), also dedicated to farmland preservation, and sponsored by Houghtaling, Anthony Verrelli (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) and Taliaferro, appropriates CBT funds to certain nonprofit organizations dedicated to land conservation, according to the press release.

“Without the support of vital nonprofit groups working to make New Jersey’s farmlands the best in the country, our agriculture industry would not be able to thrive,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “It is important to support these organizations in their efforts to preserve our farmlands so our agricultural sector can remain strong for years to come.”

The third bill, (A-4734), focuses on historic site management and preservation, and is sponsored by Bruce Land, Taliaferro and Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson). It appropriates $1.19 million from constitutionally dedicated CBT funds to the New Jersey Historic Trust in order to provide historic site preservation grants, according to the press release.

“New Jersey is filled with a tremendous amount of history,” said Land (Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland). “It is part of what makes our state so special. We must designate the funds necessary to preserve our historic landmarks.”

The bills originally cleared the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration, according to the press release.

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