New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Renews Call for Mandated Government Transparency

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Senator Urges Legislative Action Following News of Murphy Administration’s Failure to Produce Regular Fiscal Reports

In response to reports that Governor Phil Murphy’s administration has failed to produce monthly performance updates to taxpayers, Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) is calling for the passage of his “Transparency in Government Act,” legislation that would hold school boards, State and local agencies, and government authorities accountable to all New Jersey residents, by preventing abusive spending of public funds.

In response to reports that Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has failed to produce monthly performance updates to taxpayers, Sen. Joe Pennacchio is calling for the passage of his bill to prevent the abusive spending of public funds. (Pixabay)

“Transparency is an essential public instrument that holds government officials accountable for how they spend taxpayer dollars,” Pennacchio said. “Governor Murphy’s latest lapse in fiscal responsibility exposes the urgent need for a comprehensive website that shows if public money is being spent wisely. Additionally, the creation of a transparency committee places public interest at the forefront. I have been advocating for this bill for many years now. I hope that my colleagues in the Legislature will finally be able to work together to deliver honest government throughout the Garden State. ”

In the category of transparency, New Jersey received a C- for from the Public Interest Research Groups (US PIRG.) US PIRG grades each State’s ability to offer accessible government spending data and information to the public.

Currently, New Jersey’s transparency website, YourMoney.NJ.gov, is maintained by the Office of the New Jersey State Treasurer, Elizabeth Muoio. Under Governor Murphy’s direction, three State agencies have not submitted an updated fiscal report since former Governor Christie’s left office, according to The Associated Press. The AP report also revealed that Governor Murphy’s administration will be updating the website less frequently.

Sen. Pennacchio’s “Transparency in Government Act” (S-397) would address New Jersey’s incapacity to deliver easily-accessible data. The Senator noted that this effort is especially critical now, given the Murphy Administration’s scale-back on regularly updating fiscal reports.

Additionally, S-397 would establish a State public finance website, a transparency committee, and would require certain public entities that receive State funds to establish similar websites.

Pennacchio noted his bill would also mandate that the website be regularly updated and include information in regards to the annual revenues, expenditures, and total bonded indebtedness for each fiscal year.

In addition, Sen. Pennacchio’s “Transparency in Government Act” would require this information be released no later than 45 days after the last day of the previous fiscal year.

“State, county, and municipal officials are responsible to the people they serve. These officials control billions of taxpayer dollars each year,” Pennacchio said. “This bill is a long-overdue measure that will hold our representatives to a higher standard. Without it, the resulting lack of transparency is a recipe for the violation of public trust.”

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