Budget chair looking for subpoena to force N.J. Treasurer to testify

New Jersey’s treasurer declined to appear before the Assembly Budget Committee to answer questions about the funding for recovery from Superstorm Sandy. The chairman of the committee now plans to pursue a subpoena to force the treasurer to testify.

Assemblyman Vinnie Prieto (D-Hudson County) wants Treasurer Andrew Eristoff to detail the Christie administration’s plans for federal Sandy aid.

“What are the components it’s going to be?” asked Prieto. “How’s it going to be distributed? Is it going to need matching funds? Is it going to need legislative approval? So many, many questions not a lot of answers because he chose not to come.”

Democrats who control the legislature want more information about the state’s $100 million contract with the Florida firm AshBritt for the removal of Sandy debris. They wonder whether the work could have been done cheaper by hiring New Jersey companies.

The Christie administration has stood by AshBritt, saying it was getting paid a premium because the company could remove debris quickly.  It has also pointed out that towns are free to do the work on their own.

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, (R-Union, Morris and Somerset Counties) accused Prieto of playing politics with Superstorm Sandy recovery funding.

“The Christie Administration is trying to move forward with a plan to get the money to the people as quickly as possible, while Assembly Budget Chairman Prieto is trying to slow them down.” he said.

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