Legislation Would Save Millions in Taxpayer Funds
TRENTON – The Senate Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee today released legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew to reduce the number of vehicles in state government by 10 percent each fiscal year for five consecutive years.
“We are experiencing the very beginning of what is probably going to be the most difficult budget in the history of the state of New Jersey and, as we go through this process, quite frankly, some folks – real people – are going to be hurt,” said Senator Van Drew, D-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland. “I believe it’s incumbent upon us to look at any way we can to save money for the taxpayers without hurting real folks, and I think this is one of the ways to do that.”
Senator Van Drew said the intent of the bill, S-1610, is to phase out vehicles that are out of operation or unnecessary to certain state jobs. The senator said scaling back the number of vehicles in circulation could also improve state tracking of remaining vehicles.
“I have no intention of hurting someone who is trying to perform their job,” added Senator Van Drew. �This will apply to those folks who don’t absolutely have to utilize a vehicle and, in the end, will hopefully lead to better tracking of this taxpayer-funded property.
The measure would direct a state panel – comprised of the state Treasurer, a member of the governor’s staff, and commissioner or designee of each department – to review the use of approximately 7,000 state vehicles in the Executive Branch. The Treasurer would be required to adopt, within six months of enactment, a comprehensive plan for reducing the number.
If the panel determined the goal could not be realized, it would be required to explain the reason and identify a time period for the goal to be met, not to exceed three years.
Additional vehicles to be added to the fleet, not including replacement vehicles, would need approval from the panel, under the bill. The measure would also require a reduction each fiscal year in funding for state vehicle accounts in the annual Appropriations Act.
State Police, Gaming Enforcement and vehicles and equipment used for construction, maintenance or emergency services would be exempt from the legislation.
The reduction of vehicles over five years would save more than $20 million, according to Office of Legislative Services estimates. The sale of the vehicles would generate approximately $2.2 million in revenue over the five-year period. The savings would be offset, however, by the amount the state spent on mileage reimbursements for state employees using their personal vehicles.
Senator Van Drew said the bill is a work in progress but that he believes it is necessary, especially given the state�s tough fiscal climate.
“We all have to tighten our belts and one way to do it is to utilize these vehicles less and be more frugal in what we’re doing,” he said.