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Doug Steinhardt

Posted on: July 27, 2023

Senate GOP Budget Members Call on Democrat to Release Explanations for Line Items of Budget Pork

Gold Piggy Bank

The Republican members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee called on the Democrat Majority to immediately release explanations for the hundreds of line items (PDF) that were added to the FY 2024 State Budget in the hours before its adoption.

"Republicans complied with legislative rules and publicly posted all of our proposed tax decreases, spending restraints, reforms, and spending requests before the budget was voted on, and we're calling on our Democrat colleagues to finally do the same," said Senator Declan O'Scanlon (R-13), the Republican Budget Officer. "The common-sense requirement to release proposed budget changes and detailed spending requests was initiated by former Senate President Codey after two senators went to jail for steering money as part of extortion schemes. When there is complete transparency in members' spending requests, it is less likely that abuses will occur or go unnoticed."

Rule 42 of the Joint Rules of the Senate and General Assembly requires "budget resolutions" explaining every line item proposed by a legislator to be on file prior to the budget being voted on and to be made available to the public.

"The Democrats' failure to explain more than $1 billion of spending they inserted into the final budget is very alarming," said Senator Steven Oroho (R-24). "One has to ask why the Democrats' budget resolutions still haven't been made public nearly a full month since the State Budget was adopted. Secrecy only breeds distrust. The public should know how their tax dollars are being spent and why these spending additions were made so Democrats should come clean."

Democrat leaders still have not released their budget resolutions nearly a month after the budget was adopted.

"After Governor Murphy proposed spending $12 million on a French art museum in Jersey City without explaining how the money would be spent, someone in the Legislature doubled the funding to $24 million and never explained why," said Senator Michael Testa (R-1). "That one project has now received $58 million of unexplained spending over two years, all while schools across New Jersey are having their funding cut. There are more than 400 additional line items totaling $1.2 billion that was given away without any explanation at all. New Jerseyans deserve to know why these items are spending priorities for Democrats."

A list of 400+ line items (PDF) totaling more than $1.2 billion for named beneficiaries, and for which no explanations have been made public, is attached.

"As a new member of the Budget Committee, I was shocked by the Democrat Majority's blatant disregard for transparency rules that are meant to protect the public from abuses," said Senator Doug Steinhardt (R-23). "When you share inaccurate documents, pass budget bills that don't exist, and keep spending resolutions hidden, it makes it look like you have something to hide. People will wonder and they'll search for impropriety with a fine-tooth comb. Democrats should explain what's preventing them from releasing their budget resolutions today."

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