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.”