TRENTON – A bill sponsored to create a comprehensive, searchable online public record of state spending was unanimously approved Monday in the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.
“Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is spent, especially during these tough economic times,” said Senator Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex), a sponsor of the bill. “Placing state expenditures under a public microscope through which New Jerseyans may investigate and understand the state’s spending and fiscal priorities will be an ally in the on-going battle against waste and corruption.”
The bill, S-143, would direct the State Treasurer and the Chief Technology Officer to design, develop, maintain and operate the website, which would retain and display information regarding expenditures, including purchases, contracts, loans and grants. A link to the site would be clearly displayed on the official website of the State of New Jersey.
The bill would require the website to include a record of all state expenditures as well as:
- The names and addresses of state contractors and entities receiving grants;
- The names of principal officers and directors of contractors and grant-receiving entities;
- A description and price of goods and services provided to the state;
- The amount and purpose of any grant from the state; and
- The state fund in which the contract or grant is paid with or out of and any additional terms of the contract or grant.
- Additionally, the website would include a component for public comment and feedback to improve its accessibility.
The state’s current transparency website, yourmoney.nj.gov, lacks critical details that would enable taxpayers to fully comprehend how their money is spent, according to Buono.
“The product of a website that shows which entities are receiving taxpayer dollars and why will be a more honest, open and transparent government,” said Buono. “The well-being of this state and the preservation of our democratic ideals depend on re-gaining the public’s trust, and that starts here.”
The bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.
The website would become operational as of July 1, 2013.
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