NJ Budget: Christie's Revenue Estimates Short by Nearly $1 Billion

Image: NJ Budget: Christie's Revenue Estimates Short by Nearly $1 Billion

Monday, 20 May 2013 02:25 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New Jersey revenue figures for the next 13 months are expected to fall short by nearly $1 billion, but the gap may narrow somewhat if Gov. Chris Christie revises his own revenue projections.

But Christie is unlikely to lower estimates after figures came out last week showing a surge in income tax collections and a drop in the state's unemployment rate, according to The Newark Star-Ledger.

Sluggish revenue figures in past months had forced Christie to lower his projection and throw out a pledge to delay property tax rebates and borrow less for transportation projects.
The new figures were expected to be unveiled Monday in testimony before the state Senate Budget Committee.

In April, David Rosen, budget officer for the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services, said Christie's revenue figures for the rest of the fiscal year and next year were $637 million too high, a prediction the governor's administration criticized. But Rosen said in an email to lawmakers Sunday night that the shortfall will be around $937 million instead, a figure likely to draw even more scorn from Christie's camp.

"Compared to the revenue forecasts provided in the February Governor's Budget Message, we anticipate $444 million less revenue in FY 2013 and $492 million less in FY 2014, for a two-year gap of $937 million. Six weeks ago that gap was $637 million," Rosen said in the email.

Meanwhile, Christie is proposing a $32.9 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, beginning July 1.

The differences between Rosen's projections and Christie's have prompted the Republican governor in the past to refer to Rosen as the "Dr. Kevorkian of the numbers," and to wonder why he still had a job. Last year, Rosen said Christie's revenue projections were about $1.3 billion too high.

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