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Assemblyman Christian Barranco. (Photo: Christian Barranco).

Barranco pushes Murphy to step up transparency on American Rescue Plan funds

By David Wildstein, August 26 2022 12:18 pm

As Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration makes plans to spend the last $1 billion of federal COVID relief funds, Assemblyman Christian Barranco (R-Jefferson) wants to make sure the money is given out in a fair and transparent way.

“It’s the same old story.  Democrats promise transparency and then cut back-room deals without Republican or public input,” said Barranco.  “Public money, whether federal, state, or local, should be openly accounted for, period.”

According to Barranco, New Jersey’s $6 billion share of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan can be used to help the state recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.  All funds must be allocated by the end of 2024.

Murphy has been criticized a lack of transparency in how the federal dollars are doled out.

“The transparency with which these final decisions are made has been abysmal,” said Sheila Reynertson of New Jersey Policy Perspective, a left-leaning think tank, said during a virtual meeting with Murphy earlier this month.  “The public, in fact, has not been granted a meaningful process by which to weigh in on the way the remaining dollars are spent.”

Barranco, a freshman lawmaker from Morris County, called on Murphy to fix the problem.

“To be worthy of trust, you must be accountable, which means you must be transparent,” he said.

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