Reflections on the New Jersey State and Local Expenditure and Revenue Policy Commission

NJPP recently marked the 15th anniversary of a comprehensive report by the State and Local Expenditure and Policy Commission. It was a report that could have changed the face of New Jersey for the better through fundamental reforms in how the state raises and spends money.

The following report was prepared by Henry A. Coleman, Director of the Center for Government Services at Rutgers and a member of the NJPP Board of Trustees.

By Henry A. Coleman

The Final Report of the New Jersey State and Local Expenditure and Revenue Policy (SLERP) Commission was issued 15 years ago this summer. The SLERP Commission was the state’s most recent effort at a comprehensive review and analysis of its fiscal system-including state and local governments-and spending and revenues. This large-scale undertaking was deemed necessary because of the recognition that state and local levels of government really are parts of the same system, and that spending and revenue-raising decisions are not made in a vacuum. Thus, the mandate of the SLERP Commission, rather than getting caught up in historical and political distinctions lacking in real value, reflected the interconnections and interdependencies that characterize the real world.

This anniversary brings to mind several questions that may be of interest to policymakers, taxpayers, and anyone concerned about reforming New Jersey’s fiscal system. They include:

Why was the SLERP Commission established?
What were the major policy recommendations that emerged from the commission?
How many of the commission’s reforms were ever implemented?
How have the fiscal problems/conditions that inspired the SLERP Commission changed over the last 15 years?
Would the SLERP Commission reforms be appropriate in addressing current fiscal ills in New Jersey?

If you like our reports, please consider a tax-deductible contribution to NJPP! Please click here to download the full report.