For example, New Jersey’s highest ranking elected Democrat (Steve Sweeney) and the state’s most libertarian Republican senator (Mike Doherty) are teaming up to push an extremely controversial agenda item:
Free beach access.
“It is likely that state and federal taxpayers will provide hundreds of millions of dollars to repair and replenish New Jersey beaches that were washed away during Hurricane Sandy,” opined Doherty in a rare joint press release. “Considering the massive public resources that will be directed at rebuilding many New Jersey beaches, it only seems fair to ensure that everyone have the opportunity to enjoy free access to the beaches they will support and help rebuild with their tax dollars.”
The Doherty/Sweeney bill mandates that municipalities receiving public aid for post-Sandy beach restoration would no longer be allowed to condition beach access on the purchase/use of beach tags; the same communities would also be required to provide free public restroom facilities. between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
“Where taxpayers are paying for beach restoration, they shouldn’t be taxed a second time just to walk on the sand,” added Sweeney. “As New Jerseyans, we are all in the recovery and rebuilding process together. That means we should all be able to enjoy the reopening of our state’s greatest natural resource together, too.”
S-2368 will now how to work its way through committee and, ultimately, the strenuous objections of legislators from Shore counties whose coastal municipalities heavily rely on beach tag revenue to keep property taxes in check.