New Jersey's leading newspapers have decried continued wasteful spending by the state. Here are some excerpts.
The Star-Ledger, the state’s clothing allowances that have “been negotiated into contracts” are “camouflaged bonuses” and “wasteful spending”:
“Let’s call some of the state’s clothing allowances what they are: camouflaged bonuses. And wasteful spending. In a report released yesterday, the state comptroller’s office says that of $22.2 million paid annually to the 27,000 state employees eligible for a clothing allowance, more than $4.8 million goes to white-collar workers who don’t wear a uniform. … This perk has been negotiated into contracts, most likely by politicians who didn’t even bother to check whether particular jobs required special clothing. The state is paying uniform allowances to people who don’t wear uniforms and aren’t required to wear special clothing. Oh, and workers don’t even have to turn in receipts to prove the dough was spent on duds. They get the money automatically. New Jersey’s garb grants, by the way, are more generous than New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. In future contracts, the state should strip clothing allowances from workers who don’t wear uniforms. Those workers should tighten their belts -- you know, the ones we bought for them.” (Editorial, “Strip clothing allowance from state workers who don't need it,” The Star-Ledger, 4/14/2011)
The Record, “sloppy or selfish negotiations by the state and major unions have created an unaccountable giveaway for all, and a taxpayer-funded shopping spree for those at the top of the heap”:
“IT IS a hoot-worthy headline, if only it weren't so expensive. New Jersey is spending nearly $5 million a year on uniforms for workers in white-collar jobs. … a new report by the state comptroller reveals Trenton is spending $4.8 million a year to provide clothing allowances to state employees in desk jobs, Staff Writer John Reitmeyer reported. Eighty-two percent of them don't wear uniforms, and 48 percent aren't required to wear anything special to work. … It is maddening. … sloppy or selfish negotiations by the state and major unions have created an unaccountable giveaway for all, and a taxpayer-funded shopping spree for those at the top of the heap. The governor seized on the report by the comptroller with bemused outrage. … The Communications Workers of America criticized the data, because it relies on reporting from human-resources departments, not workers themselves. A pretty lame critique. State workers deserve fair pay, secure pensions and the tools they need to do their jobs. Uniforms for white-collar employees don't fit the bill. And taxpayers should not be footing the bill, either.” (Editorial, “Uniform waste,” The Record, 4/14/2011)