Trenton, NJ 3.6.2017 by Sierra NJ – Senate President Steve Sweeney is planning to introduce legislation to recapture a share of the Republican federal corporate tax cut. This plan would include four percent going to environmental programs including open space, farmland, and parks capital. Sweeney’s bill hopes to “recapture a portion of that corporate windfall to fund programs that will make New Jersey a better place to live and work.” This includes funding programs for education, as well as the environment.

“Given Trump’s tax cuts, Sweeney’s proposal is especially important for New Jersey. It will increase revenue to help with education and economic development in our state, as well as environmental protection. Since 4% of the corporate business tax is dedicated to environmental purposes, these programs will benefit as well. This increase would help programs including open space, farmland, historic preservation, parks capital, clean-up of contaminated sites, brownfield redevelopment, and watershed protection. By funding these projects, we are not only protecting the environment, waterways, and drinking water of the state; but providing the citizens of New Jersey with the natural resources they are entitled to be able to enjoy,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “It’s more critical now because Christie had cut the DEP budget by a third and federal cuts for clean water and cleaning toxic sites are coming as well. That makes this $27 million for environmental purposes even more important.”

Trump’s budget continues to cut important funding for agencies, especially the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that helps states like New Jersey. We are getting less funding to states federally, which will disrupt water quality testing at toxic sites, while stopping efforts to clean up our water supply and retrofit lead pipes. It will mean there will be no money going to resiliency along the shore, restoring the Delaware Bayshore, planting dunes, or upgrading sewer plants. States will lose money to deal with stormwater and over $100 million to deal with climate change.

“This increase in funding will help make up for Trump’s tax cuts and protect these important environmental programs. With Trump’s cuts, there may be layoffs, closing of parks, and termination of other vital programs. This means less funding for New Jersey won’t have funding to keep people and property out of harm’s way or protect us from flooding and pollution during a storm,” said Jeff Tittel. “This increase in funding will help us protect clean water programs and clean-up toxic sites that will suffer under Trump’s cuts.”

Under the Christie Administration, funding for environmental programs was continuously cut. They took money away from brownfield development, contaminated site remediation, and park funding to pay for open space. Then Christie wanted to take some open space money for parks so they went to the legislature to get money from the Clean Energy Fund that they cut in the first place. Under Christie, the DEP was cut by 1/3 meaning less staff to implement these important programs.

“There’s been less funding over the past few years because Christie’s tax cuts led to siphoning of finding to subsidize development. He took money from funding parks for open space, with support from certain environmental groups. We’ve added hundreds of thousands of acres of open space without adequate money for capital repair or maintenance. This new plan could generate about $27 million in additional revenue. This will benefit the environment and people of New Jersey. More funding for these programs also means the DEP can hire more staff to implement the programs such as cleaning up sites and supporting parks. We can use this additional funding to restore the damage done by the Christie Administration and further protect the environment and open space of New Jersey,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “It’s important for New Jersey to come up with funding sources for the environmental programs that might be cut at the national level. This will help restore the DEP to where it was before the eight years of Christie. This is a great step to help move New Jersey in the right direction.”