TRENTON – State Senator Loretta Weinberg, an advocate in the State Legislature for reform measures designed to rein in abuse and waste of tax dollars at New Jersey’s independent authorities, today applauded Governor Christie for tackling some of those abuses through an executive order, and pledged to work with the Governor and his Administration to keep the pressure on.
“I haven’t fully reviewed the Governor’s executive order yet, but I will say this: anything that makes it harder for unelected authority heads and commissioners to waste the taxpayer’s money is a positive first step,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “For too long in New Jersey, spending at these independent authorities has gone unchecked, and taxpayers have footed the bill for lax oversight and blatant cronyism. The Governor’s order begins to address some of the waste perpetrated on the taxpayers of New Jersey through these ‘shadow government’ agencies and authorities which have run amok at our expense.”
This session, Senator Weinberg has introduced S-360 – the “State Authorities Reform Act” – specifically to address many of the problems at State authorities. The bill, which was pre-filed for introduction and which Senator Weinberg also sponsored in both the 08-09 Legislative Session and the 06-07 Legislative session, would require State authorities to adopt various spending reforms, including standardized hiring practices, spending transparency, and contract reform. The bill would also give the Governor veto authority over the minutes of all State authorities, thereby giving the State’s chief executive ultimate authority to block any questionable spending. Senator Weinberg is also prime sponsor of S-359, which also provides for a gubernatorial veto for the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission and North Jersey District Water Supply Commission.
“I look forward to working with Governor Christie to advance real reform at out-of-control agencies and authorities which have been given carte blanche to abuse the taxpayer’s trust,” said Senator Weinberg. “His executive order unveiled today is a good first step in reining in these agencies, and Legislative approval and enactment of S-359 and S-360 would be another step in the right direction. Ultimately, the Governor and the Legislature are going to have to commit to working together and remaining vigilant against waste and abuse of taxpayer resources, wherever it may rear its ugly head.”
Both bills are currently pending before the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.