Says Process Is Broken, But Democrats Currently in Charge Have No Willingness to Fix It
Senator Declan O’Scanlon said a total lack of budget transparency demonstrated yesterday by New Jersey Democrats was shameful after tens of billions of dollars of spending was approved with minimal information available to legislators or the public.
Sen. Declan O’Scanlon said a total lack of budget transparency demonstrated by New Jersey Democrats was shameful after tens of billions of dollars of spending was approved with minimal information available to legislators or the public. (©iStock)
“Democrats in the Senate and Assembly budget committees made an absolute mockery of the concept of open and transparent government yesterday,” said O’Scanlon (R-13), a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee. “They posted and voted upon budget-related bills that hadn’t even been written yet. Nobody, not legislators voting on the bills nor the public that will be impacted, had any legitimate opportunity to review the legislation, understand it, or make suggestions for improvement.”
During the Senate Budget Committee meeting, a supplemental appropriation of more than $114 million for the current fiscal year was voted upon and approved before the bill was made available to committee members or posted online for public review.
Republicans on the committee expressed concern that nobody had any idea what spending was included in the legislation. Not knowing whether the spending was justified or not, the Republican committee members abstained.
Democrats on the committee approved that spending measure sight unseen.
The process was soon repeated when the Democrat-run committee approved the $46 billion appropriations act for FY 2022 just minutes after the 280-page budget bill was posted online for the first time.
A vote was called, despite none of the committee members having seen the legislation, which includes Democratic legislative add-ons for so-called “pork” spending that totals in the hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars.
“Governor Murphy and Trenton Democrats clearly feel empowered to circumvent our constitutional legislative process and make all of the important decisions in a back room shielded from public scrutiny,” added O’Scanlon. “This entire budget process has been the most shameful, willful disregard for government transparency that Trenton has ever seen. Unfortunately, Governor Murphy and the Democrats currently in charge of the State House are unlikely to do anything to fix this broken process. Hell, they created it.”