At this point in the election cycle, I hope that every has received their sample ballots for tomorrow’s election. If not, then…well…you might be out of luck! And if you’re a vote-by-mail person like I am, then you should have already sent in your ballot a few days ago. That said, since vote-by-mail folks are in the minority, I wanted to put some comments up about Question #1 (the only question) on tomorrow’s general election ballot.
At its root, this question asks the voters to approve a $400 million bond to preserve open space, certain flood zones, and historic places in New Jersey. Of those dollars, $364 million will be segregated specifically for open space purposes.
The Daily Record recently endorsed a “no” vote on this question. I beg to differ. For what it’s worth, JerseySmarts.com endorses a “yes” vote on Question #1. Why? Good question…
After moving out of Manhattan when I was younger, my family went to Morris County near the Sussex County border (near the Lake Hopatcong area). Now that I’ve been all over the this great state I can confidently say that the area of land near the Morris County/Sussex County border is a really beautiful area of the state. Each year I entertain a lot of guests who are from out of state. We generally have to stick to the Parkway or the Turnpike to get to our various destinations and they see what the country thinks is the stereotypical life in New Jersey: concrete and congestion. However, when I have the opportunity to take these guests to Morris, Hunterdon, Sussex, or Warren counties they wind up bringing home a completely different view of New Jersey.
I’m not suggesting that you vote in favor of this bond issue because of the impression that out of staters get when they visit Northwest New Jersey. No, I’m suggesting that you vote in favor of this bond issue because once this open space is gone, it’s not coming back. I’m suggesting that you vote in favor of this bond issue because even though this state is in a severe financial crisis, the only true way to get out of it is by creating an equitable tax base (in other words, everyone pays taxes, not just everyone except people living in Camden County and Newark). I’m suggesting that you vote in favor of this bond issue because there over-urbanization of Northwest New Jersey needs to stop and it needs to stop now.
Yes, the country is in a tight financial situation. And yes, the state needs to fix its budget and quick. However, let’s not panic ourselves into making a terrible decision. Remember, a rising tide lifts all boats. In other words, when the economy does come back, it’s going to bring increased revenues to the state and to its municipalities. Times are tough now, but this state (and this country) will come booming back like it always does. In the mean time, let’s not open up our precious and depleting green spaces to excessive development just because we can’t see the future for what it will ultimately be – which is prosperous.
In my vote-by-mail ballot, I voted “yes” on Question #1 to authorize the state to issue a $400 million bond. I hope that you do, too.