An idea to save NJ money: Sell half of the state’s government cars
TRENTON — With the Legislature’s review of the state budget beginning with public hearings later this week, an assemblyman is tossing a cost-cutting idea to the mix: Sell half the state’s cars.
Assemblyman Matt Milam, D-Cumberland, who returned to the Assembly six weeks ago after a six-year absence, has reintroduced legislation (A5128) that would require the state to cut its vehicle fleet by 10 percent a year for five years.
“I think we need to get accountability on how many vehicles we have, who they’re assigned to, where they’re going, is there tracking on these, are they being used for the proper use?” Milam said.
There would be exemptions for the State Police, the Division of Gaming Enforcement and other construction, maintenance and emergency services vehicles.
“I have heard from constituents that they’ve seen a state vehicle – you know, they have all decals, ‘official use only.’ They’ve seen them on a Sunday, in Delaware at a Christiana Mall, say,” Milam said.
The proposal directs the Treasury Department to develop plans for reducing the number of cars 10 percent a year for five years, with some exceptions such as for State Police cars. There’s some wiggle room: The cuts would have to be at least 8 percent a year and could stretch over eight years.
Cars deemed to be no longer needed would be sold, with the proceeds used for capital improvement projects or to pay down debt.
Milam returned to the Assembly at the end of January, filling a vacancy created when Sen. Bob Andrzejczak, D-Cape May, switched offices to fill a vacancy created when Jeff Van Drew was elected to Congress. He said he is still researching what impact the car-fleet cuts could have.
“I have my staff getting with the comptroller,” he said. “And let’s get some hard numbers and let’s look at seriously reducing this fleet for cost-saving measures.”
The bill debuted a decade ago but has received just one committee hearing in six legislative sessions, back in 2010. One thing potentially in its favor: At one point its sponsors included Craig Coughlin, who now is the Assembly speaker.