NJ Faces Big Budget Trouble

Friday, 14 Dec 2012 10:39 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Skipped pension payments, reliance on quick revenue fixes, and a great deal of borrowing have left New Jersey’s state budget in serious trouble, a new report on state finances claims.
 
The report, released by the New York-based State Budget Task Force, outlines the many budget issues that will likely come into play next year when Republican Gov. Chris Christie seeks re-election, the Bergen County Record reported Friday.
 
The report noted that New Jersey pension fund contributions will increase by an estimated $5.5 billion in five years, or about five times as much as Christie and state lawmakers approved in the last budget. In addition, costs for other budget items, such as Medicaid, school, and health benefits will go up by $3.7 billion in five years, and infrastructure improvements will cost $133 billion more over the next 10 years, the report said.
 
The ongoing fiscal cliff issue in Washington could also play havoc with New Jersey revenues, because the state relies a great deal on federal funds. The state receives about $12 billion a year from the federal government, and even a 10 percent cut could result in a loss of more than $1 billion to help fund state programs.
 
"Balancing budgets, to say the least, is going to be a challenge," Richard Keevey, a New Jersey budget expert who helped compile the report, told the Record.

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