NJ financial mumbo jumbo could soon become easier to understand
⚫ NJ financial jargon could soon be decoded
⚫ A measure that could pass this week would create a user-friendly report
⚫ The idea is to let average people understand what’s going on in NJ
For the average person trying to understand details of New Jersey’s financial system, how revenue collection is determined as well as the costs, assets and liabilities of the state can be extremely difficult because much of it is extremely complicated and technical.
But that could soon be changing.
The New Jersey Legislature is expected to give final approval to a measure, S1884, by the end of this week that would require the state auditor to publish a user-friendly report summarizing the Annual New Jersey Comprehensive Financial Report.
That’s a voluminous and highly technical document that details the state’s overall fiscal health, that almost no one can decipher unless they are a financial expert.
New Jersey Business and Industry Association Chief Government Affairs Officer Chris Emigholz testified in favor of the legislation.
He said because most individuals, including the lawmakers who represent us in Trenton, don’t really understand the fiscal intricacies of the Garden State, this bill was developed ‘to try to give that average voter a little bit more understanding about what is in our finances and what does that look like.”
What gets spelled out
He said the report will cover various components of “how much we spend on debt and what our pension and school aid and transportation costs are. It also gets into our medical issues, Medicaid funding, it gets into our transportation funding, all of these property tax relief programs.”
He said the user-friendly report will provide specific information about the state’s public pension fund, and what the state is required tospend on education.
“School aid is something I think will continue to grow, it will plateau once we get to this full funding level but we’re almost at full funding and I think voters should understand that and know that.”
Emigholz said at a minimum, the bill requires the state auditor’s report to include:
• A summary of the state’s financial condition compared to neighboring states
• A summary of the state’s total long-term liabilities compared to those of neighboring states
• A summary of the accuracy of the State’s revenue projections; an accounting of any structural imbalance in the state budget
• A summary of the State’s unrestricted cash reserves compared to those of neighboring states
• An analysis of the potential impacts of an economic recession on the state’s revenues and spending obligations
He said hopefully “an informed voter, an informed population, informed legislators better make decisions, and more informed decisions will lead to better public policy in the future.”