As reported by trentonian.com, Governor Chris Christie quietly receives an expense account of $95,000 a year and does not have to tell anyone how it is spent. This annual “allowance” is being renewed for fiscal year 2012, continuing a 35 year old custom to make sure the Governor has enough dough to pay for official receptions in the State and for the general upkeep ofDrumthwacket, the State executive mansion in Princeton, and other expenses.
The $95,000 expense account is atop the $175,000 a year salary Christiegets as governor. Not only is the $95,000 expense account more than half his yearly salary, there is no law, rule, or requirement to make the payouts public. None of the eight governors who had the expense accounts have had to tell the people what happened to the money.
The authorization for the expense account is listed in the Chief Executive portion of the budget with the following description: “Allowance to the Governor of funds not otherwise appropriated, for official reception on behalf of the state, operation of an official residence and other expenses.”
The account was first created for Governor Brendan Byrne in the mid-1970s and has been renewed automatically every year since. The amount was boosted from $75,000 to $95,000 a year Governor Christine Whitman 12 years ago.
The late Democrat Assemblyman Alan Karcher of Middlesex County bristled that there was no accounting of the governor’s expense allowance. He felt it should be public, but his efforts failed to make it so because the consensus was and still is that such a move would be demeaning to a governor. So, to this day, the expense account of the governor, at $95,000 a year, is the only line item in the entire budget that is not public.