State Senate President Stephen Sweeney is continuing to speak out in support of making New Jersey beaches free.

(Cape May Beach) Flickr user Mike's Trailhead

The Senate's top Democrat told the editorial board of the Asbury Park Press he'd "love to get into an argument" with any Shore mayors who claim they can't do without beach fees.

Sweeney and Republican Sen. Michael Doherty of Warren County co-sponsored a bill requiring towns getting state and federal beach replenishment money to provide free beach and restroom access.

Shore towns are urging opposition and in fact some are planning to raise beach fees for 2013.

Sweeney says if more small shore towns consolidate services they could easily get rid of beach tags.

Long Beach Township Mayor Joseph Mancini says beach fees are an effective "`use tax" comparable to bridge tolls, and for his town, don't even cover the cost of beach maintenance.

 

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)