HOLMDEL, N.J. – Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso wrote an op-ed for the Asbury Park Press calling for audits of every department in state government after Gov. Phil Murphy “found” $1 billion to spend on his agenda items. DiMaso’s plan requires the Legislature to review the audit results.
State needs departmental audits, benefits reforms: DiMaso
By Serena DiMasso
During my tenure as a Monmouth County freeholder we consistently delivered budgets with no tax increase, year over year. How? We cut spending. We worked with our department heads to cut a percentage of each of the county’s department budgets, from the smallest to largest, saving our taxpayers millions.
An actual percentage cut by each department at the state level might prove to be more difficult, but it’s evident they must have money to be accessed. Somehow, Gov. Phil Murphy “found” $1 billion this year. If we really had an additional $1 billion to throw around we could have used that to offset school funding cuts, or provide long overdue relief to our taxpayers.
How could we possibly have found $1 billion? How much more money is lying around? This obviously means we need to audit each department to see if there is other money to magically be pulled out of the air. The administration must conduct a thorough audit of all departments and agencies, then allow for the Legislature to review these audits.
Even further, we must act on difficult and necessary reforms to really lower costs. Many of my fellow Republicans in the Legislature, including my District 13th colleague, Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, have led the call for pension and health benefits reform. Not only is our current system costly for taxpayers, but the cost of health plans has increased for employees as well. We do not need to require platinum-level coverage when gold-level coverage is more cost effective for all involved. Additionally, it is still far better coverage than most employees might receive elsewhere.