In the wake of reports that the Newark school district spent $22,000 per month for over a year on catered meals and take-out food, Senator Joe Pennacchio renewed his call for passage of the “Transparency in Government Act” to prevent abusive spending of public funding.
“Newark school district officials’ audacity to spend hundreds of thousands of public dollars on catered meals while in the midst of a $42 million budget deficit is indefensible and further proof of the need for taxpayers to have access to information of how every one of their hard-earned dollars is spent,” said Pennacchio (R-Essex, Morris, Passaic). “Unfortunately, this type of wasteful spending of state tax dollars, like the millions of tax dollars wasted by the City of Newark detailed in a recent state Comptroller report, occurs outside the public eye time and time again in authorities and cities across the state.”
“The Transparency in Government Act would hold school boards, state and local government agencies and authorities accountable to the public and help prevent these types of abuses from occurring for month after month in private,” Pennacchio added.
The Act, S-419, establishes a singular finance website that the public can use to track state spending and spending by all county and local entities that receive state tax dollars. Spending at all levels of government would be subjected to the timely, transparent, easy to use website. The Senator first introduced it in 2012 and has since gained support of local governments and bipartisan elected officials.
“This is the type of accountability taxpayers deserve and demand,” Pennacchio concluded. “We can’t continue to let public agencies flush away funding, adding to the high costs residents already struggle under and leaving less resources for the things that really matter like education, infrastructure and public safety.”