TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Paul Sarlo that would make “user-friendly” financial information readily available to the public was approved by a Senate committee today. The bill, S-1884, would require the State Auditor to make the state’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Report easily accessible and to use understandable language that summarizes state finances. It is co-sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Steve Oroho.
The report, done annually, provides information that focuses on New Jersey’s overall financial health and addresses items such as the state’s revenues, spending, assets and liabilities, but it is a voluminous report that relies on financial data that is difficult for many people to understand.
“Information on state finances should be readily accessible to the public,” said Senator Sarlo, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee. “The State Auditor’s report is thorough and objective, but it also should be ‘translated’ into language that is easily understandable to everyone.”
The bill would have the auditor add to its report a summary of the state’s financial conditions, long-term liabilities, the accuracy of preceding revenue projections and cash reserves. It would also include an accounting of any structural imbalance and an analysis of the potential impact of an economic recession. The report would include comparisons to fiscal conditions in neighboring states to help put New Jersey’s economic circumstances into context, Senator Sarlo said.
The auditor would be required to present the report to the Legislature in a public hearing.
The bill was approved unanimously by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.