NJ Budget Picture To Get Clearer Soon [AUDIO]
The state budget is exactly like a family budget; you can only spend what you have.
So, how much money does New Jersey have?
We will get a pretty good idea Monday when State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff and the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services will each give their versions of the state's revenue picture to the Senate Budget Committee.
"No budget goes through the way a Governor proposes it," explains Senator Tony Bucco, the ranking Republican on the budget panel. "There are changes made and that's what the process of the budget committees in both houses really is."
Up until this point the budget process has been all about how the state should spend your tax dollars. Once lawmakers know how much money New Jersey actually has the focus will shift to spending priorities and time is of the essence.
"Our constitution dictates that we have to have a balanced budget by July 1," says Bucco. "In other words, enough revenue coming in to balance that budget for what you're spending. Monday we'll know exactly where we stand on money that's coming in, if we're on target or off target."
For over a year, Governor Chris Christie has been demanding a tax cut, but the Democrat-controlled legislature has held off citing a lack of revenues. Bucco is cautiously optimistic about what the Treasurer will say next week.
"Maybe we'll have more money to spend for tax decreases," says Bucco.