Bill Would Have Required a Long-Term Affordability Forecast to Help Manage State Debt
Assemblyman Troy Singleton on Monday expressed his disappointment over the failure by Assembly Republicans to join Democrats in overriding Gov. Christie’s veto of a bill he sponsored to better manage the state’s debt, a measure that was unanimously supported by the Assembly last time around.
The bill (A-961), which was unanimously approved by both houses of the legislature earlier this year and vetoed by Christie this month, was put up for an override vote today and failed to garner the support needed from the necessary two-thirds of the 80-member house (45-5-23) after Republicans pulled their previous support and voted no this time.
The bill would have required the State Debt Report to include a long-term affordability analysis in order to provide a clear, data-driven framework for the executive branch and the legislature to evaluate and establish priorities for legislation that may impact the amount of state debt during future fiscal years.
“This bill would have little cost, if any, to the state and would simply require the executive branch to report information that they already collect in the annual State Debt Report.
“We can’t continue to bury our head in the sand. This may not be information we want to hear, but it’s information we need to hear.
“Almost every major institution bases their business transactions and budget decisions on economic forecasting.
“An administration that just presided over a record eighth credit downgrade, should not be scoffing at the need for long-term economic forecasting.
“I’m disappointed that Assembly Republicans have changed their mind and no longer feel the need to gain a concise picture of our long-term debt load,” said Singleton.
Singleton underscored the fact that the annual debt report released earlier this year by the State Treasury Department showed that the state’s long-term debt increased to a record $78.4 billion last year, up $6.6 billion from the previous year.
Under the bill, the State Debt Report, which is submitted to the Commission on Capital Budgeting and Planning, would have been required to include a detailed analysis and narrative discussion of the state’s ability to afford an increase in its overall debt by incurring additional debt, and recommendations on the affordability of any such increase.