Earlier today, New Jersey lawmakers voted on billions of dollars in state spending and on an expansion to the state’s controversial corporate tax subsidy program without bill language available to the public, press, policy experts, or advocates. Given the size and complexity of these bills, it is all but certain that state lawmakers did not have a chance to fully read and process the bills before they were rushed through for a vote. In response to today’s votes, New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) releases the following statement.
Brandon McKoy, President, NJPP:
“What happened today at the State House is truly shameful. Lawmakers voted on some of the most consequential bills of the year — totalling tens of billions of dollars in both spending and corporate tax breaks — without any of the bill language available to the public. This, after lawmakers promised an open and transparent budget process. Their behavior, in an election year no less, affirms how little they care about good governance and basic democratic principles. At the same time, this should not come as a surprise given the uncompetitive nature of New Jersey’s elections.
“After the year we all just went through, suffering a pandemic and recession that has yet to fully end, lawmakers had a golden opportunity to show their support for true community engagement. Instead, they have doubled down on a process that only values insiders and protects entrenched power. As long as New Jersey continues to construct its budget and legislative processes in this fashion, our state will never reflect the values that we claim to hold dear.”