TRENTON, N.J. – The budget process has been opaque the past few years, facing criticism for introducing the appropriations act and passing it without a fully public process. Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy said he would like to change that process, but doubted it would happen this year, according to reports.
Assemblywoman Aura Dunn doubts it will ever happen.
“There is a political advantage to passing a spending bill without anyone being able to get a complete look at it before it is passed and signed into law,” said Dunn (R-Morris). “If Democrats were serious about transparency they would enact my plan to get it done.”
Dunn has introduced bills requiring legislative changes to the governor’s proposed budget are publicly available by June 1, the state Treasurer to establish a transparency site, and establishing an independent New Jersey Revenue Advisory Board to take political expediency out of revenue estimates.
“Creating a trusted budget process will not only successfully separate necessary spending from waste, but restore faith in our government and leaders,” continued Dunn. “When transparency and fiscal responsibility are sacrificed by politicians at the bargaining table, we all lose.”
During the public budget signing in June, reporters grilled Murphy on how the entire budget process appears to be becoming more opaque with each passing year. He claimed that as chairman of the National Governors Association, he had a look at other states and boasted about how it’s done here.