SAVINGS IDENTIFIED BY ASSEMBLY REPUBLICANS

MARCH 23, 2005 THROUGH MAY 18, 2005

  

HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENT ASSISTANCE AUTHORITY

 

State audit uncovers questionable travel, limousine, food, and party expenses plus possible mismanagement of funds.

 

 

$235,940

CAMDEN SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

State audit finds mismanagement, sloppy record-keeping and possible fraud.

 

 

$4,856,664

2004 STATE AUDITOR REPORT

 

Overlooked state audit report identifies potential cost savings and revenue enhancements.

 

$101,400,000

2001-2003 STATE AUDITOR REPORTS

 

Combined savings identified in overlooked state audit reports.

 

$110,100,000

ADVERTISING ISLAND OF UNKNOWN OWNERSHIP

 

Department of Community Affairs presents grant to an independent board to advertise for development Burlington Island in the Delaware River despite legal questions regarding ownership of land on the island.

 

 

 

 

$25,000

CAMDEN CHILDRENíS GARDEN

 

Annual budget subsidy for privately-run enterprise that recently walked away from an offer that would have guaranteed it more ticket revenue.

 

 

 

$625,000

30% REDUCTION IN OVERTIME FOR THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH

 

$194 million was spent on overtime in FY04 and $114 million so far in FY05.

 

 

$58,200,000

30% REDUCTION IN NJ TRANSIT OVERTIME

 

Approximately $92 million was spent on overtime last year, including overtime pay for conductors and engineers to sleep at a Manhattan hotel, where rooms were rented for nearly $170,000 a year.

 

 

$30,000,000

QUESTIONABLE AND SELF-SERVING STATE ADVERTISING

 

Millions are spent each year on pamphlets, commercials, radio ads, fliers and direct unsolicited mail that feature the Governor to potential voters.

 

 

$50,000,000

DEPARTMENT OF PERSONNEL Ė EXCESSIVE EXPENDITURES

 

Junket by former commissioner to Puerto Rico. Lots of photographs.

 

$23,744

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

 

Lavish trade missions in FY03 and FY04 to Africa, Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Mexico and several domestic trips to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Indianapolis with dubious tangible benefits for the taxpayers of New Jersey.

 

 

 

 

$1,131,670

DECORATIVE LIGHTS FOR NEWARK BRIDGES

 

$1 million in leftover state transportation grants for street lighting to place decorative lights on two bridges.

 

 

$1,000,000

DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AND VETERANSí AFFAIRS

 

An office ďmakeoverĒ complete with high back chairs, marble table overlay, custom reception desk and a top-of-the-line conference table and credenza. 

 

 

$40,307

INDOOR BATTING CAGES

 

A grant to provide indoor batting cages in West Deptford, even though there are privately-owned batting cages in West Deptford and nearby Bellmawr. 

 

 

$200,000

SPECIAL MUNICIPAL AID

 

Awarded by Democrats to Democrats in Democrat-controlled municipalities, including some that have been the target of criminal investigations and convictions for fraudulent waste of taxpayer money and others that even the state Department of Community Affairs has admitted are no longer in need of special financial assistance.

 

 

 

 

 

$25,445,000

FOLK ARTS APPRENTICESHIP AWARDS

 

Want to learn how to weave a Guatemalan rug, build a Puerto Rican guitar, or paint a Ukrainian Easter egg? Then the Department of State has a program for you!

 

 

 

$67,500

COMMISSION ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

 

Need a high-tech wiz with a PhD to help your business for free? No sweat, this commission will use tax dollars to pay a post-doctoral graduate to work for you free of charge.

 

 

 

 

 

$495,000

UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE AND DENTISTRY

 

Mounting evidence of questionable fiscal  practices and patronage abuse at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey justifies, at a minimum, a $10 million reduction in the more than $200 million UMDNJ receives from the state each year.

 

 

 

 

 

$10,000,000

PRIVATE MATH INSTITUTES

 

The state provides funding for two privately-run institutes for the advanced study of mathematics even though they have hefty endowments.

 

 

 

 

 

$160,000

LEGISLATIVE FELLOWSHIPS AND CHAIR

 

Itís time for the Legislature to reconsider its priorities and the need to maintain funding for the Henry R. Raimondo New Jersey Legislative Fellows Program and the Senator Wynona Lipman Chair in Womenís Political Leadership.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$169,000

ABOLITION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE

 

Elimination of this department, which is the smallest in state government and has the least to do, would save millions of dollars in unnecessary and redundant administrative expenses. Functions of this department worth saving can easily be transferred to others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

$752,165

ELIMINATION OF THE NJ COMMERCE COMMISSION

 

The individual entities under the umbrella of this commission, which has been mired in scandal and produced minimum benefits, can function without any additional and unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$3,500,000

OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC ADVOCATE

 

This is an office that duplicates the responsibilities and functions of already existing state offices. There isnít a single duty that cannot be assigned to existing state departments or agencies.

 

 

 

 

 

$2,000,000

SOUTH JERSEY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

Financial lifeline for this chronic money-loser should be pulled. State aid covers 78 percent of its budget, yet even the centerís executive director admits a turnaround is unlikely. 

 

 

 

 

 

$1,142,925

DCA STATEWIDE LIVABLE COMMUNITIES PROGRAM

 

This program is just a pork barrel for Democrats. No guidelines exist to award grants in possible violation of state law. This should become a merit-based grant program, or abolished. Funding tends to be added to the budget at the last possible moment to escape public exposure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$6,000,000

GET RID OF PATRONAGE JOBS IN CORRECTIONS DEPT.

 

The commissioner says he was forced to place 14 politically-connected people on the payroll by the governorís office and legislators. He says the jobs are unnecessary and the people are unqualified. He wants to get rid of them all. So why wait?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$866,000

EXTRAVAGANT SPENDING IN STATE-FUNDED SCHOOL DISTRICTS, PART I

 

The first phase of a review of vouchers submitted by school officials in Abbott Districts uncovered a pattern of extravagant spending on meals, lodging and travel. Costs were clearly excessive and could have been more tightly controlled by the Department of Education and the districts themselves. The NJDOE made no attempt to recover excess costs or impose financial penalties, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$162,018

PILOT COUNTY PROSECUTOR TAKEOVER PROGRAM

 

Save money by abandoning a plan that would shift the cost of running the prosecutorís offices in four Democrat-controlled counties to the state.

 

 

 

 

 

$8,000,000

END DUPLICATE HEALTH COVERAGE

 

By prohibiting all public officials and employees from enrolling for health benefits with more than one public entity, the state would save about a quarter of a million dollars a year. The savings for municipalities, counties and school boards would be about $1.5 million a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$222,792

APRIL TRAVEL, MEAL & LODGING EXPENSES FOR THE STATE-FUNDED CAMDAN SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

And this is the bill for only one month!

Expenses incurred for trips to Nashville, New York and Bucks County.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$45,221

IN LIEUOF TAX PAYMENTS

 

Certain developers and others in predominantly urban areas are exempt from paying property taxes but are required to make payments in lieu of property taxes under various redevelopment laws available to municipalities and counties. Requiring them to make payments in lieu of taxes to schools in addition to municipalities would save the state and local taxpayers money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$10,000,000

RESTRUCTURING STATE AID FOR NEWARK

 

The City of Newark has negotiated an agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to extend the Portís leases with the city. In addition to an increase in the annual lease payments ($12 million annually), the city was granted a one-time payment of $265 million. Newark should use a portion of its annual Port Authority payment to offset the cost of running its schools. State aid could then be reduced in a corresponding amount.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$10,000,000

FISCAL MISMANAGEMENT IDENTIFIED BY DEP AUDIT

 

A preliminary state audit report has determined that the Department of Environmental Protection has failed to collect more than $145,000 in rent on a home it owns since 1996; spent thousands of dollars subsidizing state marinas because the rates they charge donít cover operating expenses; and missed an opportunity to collect $300,000 in revenue for exotic animal permits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$500,000

ELIMINATE THE LOCAL FINANCE BOARD

 

The Local Finance Board should be abolished it functions turned over to the professional staff of the Division of Local Government Services. This is one of the few boards whose members receive a salary and it is largely ineffective. It has become a home for the politically connected seeking to continue to earn pension credit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$160,000

END CAPITAL CITY AID

 

The supposed rationale for this handout is that the city deserves special assistance because state government buildings are exempt from paying property taxes. However, Trentonís designation as the state capital draws private sector investments in ventures such as restaurants, professional services and governmental affairs. This should be ample compensation for the property tax exempt status of state buildings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$16,500,000

DIVEST NEW JERSEY NETWORK

 

New Jersey Network, which was created by the state and heavily subsidized by the taxpayers since it went on the air in 1971, has outlived its usefulness in this era of cable and satellite TV and should be sold to a foundation, another public broadcasting station or commercial television company. This would include the radio network as well. Although it would be hard to project how much revenue the state could realize from a sale, other PBS stations have been sold for tens of millions, and in at least one instance, hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

$5,000,000

savings in annual operating expenses

 

$50,000,000

minimum revenue from sale of assets

ELIMINATE THE GOVERNORíS CONTINGENCY FUND

 

The governorís contingency fund was created more than 100 years ago so the governor could make funds available immediately to address true emergencies. There are no regulations governing the grant awards, which enables the governor to make arbitrary and political awards that do not need to be judged on their merit or weighed against competing needs. The contingency account has grown considerably since its inception and is now rarely used to address actual emergencies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$1,750,000

ABOLISH LEGISLATIVE COMMISSIONS

 

The duties of the Intergovernmental Relations Commission, New Jersey Law Revision Commission and Clean Ocean and Shore Trust Commission should be shifted to more appropriate venues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$1,070,000

ELIMINATE THE DEPARTMENT OF PERSONNEL

 

This departmentís budget is approximately $25.7 million. The Department of Treasury, which administers other employee benefits, could assume responsibility for departmental responsibilities that must be continued, such as civil service testing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$15,000,000

REDUCE EXPENDITURES FOR CONSULTANTS AND VENDORS

 

A reduction in the ďServices Other Than PersonalĒ accounts found in various department budgets would produce a significant savings. These accounts are used to fund private contracts for attorneys, consultants, photographers and others who have made campaign contributions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$10,000,000

END HELDRICH CENTER SUBSIDY

 

For several years the Legislature has provided an appropriation for the development of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.  The appropriation is contingent on the development of an agreement with the New Brunswick Development Corporation and its subsequent approval by the State Treasurer. Originally, this appropriation was included in the budget at a time when the state was not in the midst of a financial crisis. Is it appropriate for the state to contribute this amount on an annual basis? Also, given New Brunswickís ďrenaissance,Ē does it still need this kind of state assistance for an economic revitalization?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$4,000,000

ELIMINATE OMB CONTINGENCY FUND

 

There are many other discretionary programs throughout state government that can consider applications for funding.  Special unmet needs could be met through an act of the Legislature or through the broad transfer powers already available to the OMB. A special discretionary fund is not needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$1,250,000

SOUTH JERSEY PORT PROPERTY TAX RESERVE FUND

 

Every year the state subsidizes the operations of the South Jersey Port Corporation for the purpose of paying artificially high payments in lieu of taxes. Is it appropriate for the state to continue to pay $2.54 million to make special payments to the City of Camden and to Camden County after passage of a $175 million special aid package for Camden?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$2,540,000

PURSUE OUTSTANDING DEBTS MORE AGGRESSIVELY

 

By intensifying efforts to recover nearly $1 billion in debts owned the state, revenue that could be used to lower property taxes would be enhanced.

 

 

 

 

 

$47,000,000

LEAVE STEM CELL RESEARCH TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR

 

The stateís limited fiscal resources would be better spent on restoring property tax relief rather than making a significant financial commitment to an unproven field of science.

 

 

 

 

 

$5,500,000

 

TOTAL TO DATE

 

$596,802,964

 







     May 18, 2005         HarryHurley.com