NJ Fiscal Folly

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

First Suggestion

As I noted back on February 9, the NJ Legislature is soliciting suggestions re NJ spending and (my interpretation) related matters. I sent the following ideas this morning.

"NJ residents can't assess whether or not budgets are reasonable without more "transparency" and "timeliness" in the state's financial reporting.

Too much key financial data is scattered across numerous state departments and reports, or buried under a mountain of extraneous details. There should be a single web site that is easily accessible to all NJ residents that summarizes key financial indicators, or provides links to appropriate summary reports.

For openers, I would like to see the following items included at such a site:

(1) An up-to-date presentation of the consolidated outstanding debt of the state and all other debt-issuing enitities such as the Economic Development Authority, the NJ Schools Construction Corp, the Transportation Trust Fund Authority, the Educational Facilities Authority, the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, etc. The presentation could look like the following out-of-date report: link 1.

(2) An up-to-date presentation of the consolidated, actuarial, unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities for all past and current public employees covered by the state, including PERS, TPAF, PFRS, SPRS, SHBP, etc. The currently available data is out of date and scattered across multiple reports: link 2.

The site should also include time series data (eg, last three years) to show the relevant trends for all key financial indicators."


At 8:50 PM, Blogger Ken Adams said...

Good ideas, Paul. I would also add a monthly or quarterly accounting of actual receipts and expenditures. Small organizations, like well-run school boards do it. Publicly held businesses are required by law to do so. Why shouldn't we expect the same of our state government?

At 7:08 PM, Blogger PN said...

Ken --

I am currently aware of one report that is somewhat useful, the OLS Revenue Snapshot:


The Snapshot only covers about 80% of annual budgeted revenues. It also needs more historical and time series data for any revenues it does include.

Otherwise, I remain on the lookout for any reports of the kind you suggest.


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