Greenwald & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Boost Oversight of NJDEP Special Fund Accounts Continues Advancing

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Lou Greenwald and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to better monitor special funding accounts in the Department of Environmental Protection that are typically not available for public scrutiny was released Monday by a Senate panel.
“The balances in state funds often change during the year for various reasons, making it difficult for the Legislature to monitor and account for certain monies,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “This would help ensure that the monies in these accounts are being used as they should be, and could be useful in standardizing some of the fiscal reporting done by state agencies”
“It can be difficult to keep track of these accounts and how funds are being spent, when there is little legislative oversight,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “This bill provides some transparency to the process so we know how much money is coming into these accounts, how much is going out and what remains.”
The bill (A-3169) would require the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to compile and submit to the governor and the Legislature, on or before March 1 of each year, an annual report detailing the appropriated and unappropriated balances of special funding accounts under the department’s jurisdiction. Such accounts, often referred to as “off-budget,” “below the line” or “special revenue” accounts, would include those supported by bond acts, dedicated revenues, taxes or fees, special purpose or one-time appropriations, federal or non-state contributions, and other similar funding sources not generally available for scrutiny by the Legislature or the public.
The bill would also require the DEP to submit an initial interim report, based upon the most recent data available, within 30 days after the date of enactment of the bill into law.
The bill would take effect immediately.
The bill was released by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. It was approved by the full Assembly in May.