Conservationists are accusing Gov. Christie of inappropriately using open space fund money to pay for maintenance and staff salaries at state parks.

Credit: Spencer Platt / Staff / Getty Images

These allegations come four months after a 65 percent to 35 percent vote caused an amendment to the state constitution that designates about $80 million annually from the Corporation Business Tax to the open space program.

Under the law, open space money can be used for "stewardship of lands for recreation and conservation purposes," according to It did not, however, specify how the money would be allocated within the open space initiative.

Christie's 2016 budget proposes taking $20 million of those funds to fill budget gaps that critics say do not fall under the definition of "stewardship" outlined in the legislation.

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