The following opinion appeared today in the Asbury Park Press. It is written by Tom Luchento, the president of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey and president of Harness Horsemen International.
The citizens of New Jersey have always supported preserving open space in the Garden State, and now there is a way to do so at no cost to the taxpayers.
As Kelly Mooij, coordinator of the NJ Keep It Green coalition, stated in her April 11 commentary in the Press, “N.J. needs funds for open land,” the only way to protect our natural resources is through a sustainable funding source for open space preservation. We could not agree more.
The anticipated $500 million annual tax on casino gaming at the Meadowlands Racetrack would be the answer, along with the more than $200 million annually paid in state, local and federal taxes by the horse industry.
Dedicating a portion of the casino taxes would assure a continuous flow of funds to guarantee the state’s Green Acres and Farmland Preservation programs without imposing a tax burden on businesses and individuals. A healthy racing and breeding industry would, in turn, keep open spaces safe from development without tapping into state funds.
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