Houghtaling, Downey Bill to Require Annual Report on Unspent Funds in State Accounts Now Law

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Legislation authored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to help ensure that taxpayer dollars are allocated and spent effectively was signed into law on Monday. The new law (A-4164) requires the state auditor to report to the legislature annually on unspent state account balances.

"When a unit of government says it needs a certain amount of money but then doesn't use it, it raises concerns about whether projects and programs are being adequately funded," said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). "If there are funds idling in a government account, the state ought to examine why that is and perhaps seek more efficient ways to use them in the future." 

Under the law, the auditor must report to the legislature on the ending fund balances of all state agencies for the prior fiscal year. In addition to the amount of unspent funds, the report must include recommendations for addressing the accumulation of funds to avoid waste or fraud and any other information the auditor deems advisable.

"Taxpayers rightfully expect that their money will fund things like education and infrastructure, not just accumulate in a government account," said Downey (D-Monmouth). "An annual report on unspent account balances will foster transparency and help New Jersey use funds more efficiently."

The measure received unanimous approval from both houses of the legislature before being signed into law by the governor.

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