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NJ Budget Takes Center Stage Today [AUDIO]

Today would have been arguably the third most important day of the year in New Jersey’s State budget process behind only the Governor’s budget address and the signing of the spending plan into law.

Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen

This afternoon, State Treasurer Andrew Siadmon-Eristoff is scheduled to tell the Senate Budget Committee how revenues are doing after the April tax collections, but the Treasurer let the cat out of the bag late last week.

According to an email last week, New Jersey’s revenues exceeded Governor Chris Christie’s projections in April for the fifth month in a row. State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff reported a nearly 30 percent year-over-year gain in income tax collections combined with better-than expected collections of the sales and corporation business tax to generate monthly revenues of $3.91 billion.

For the ten months ending April 30, revenues from collections of the state’s 17 major taxes are 6.9 percent higher than in the previous year. April also marked the fourth month in a row that sales tax collections have exceeded budgeted levels.

“As expected, New Jersey has experienced a strong 2013 income tax filing season,” said Sidamon-Eristoff. “Moreover, the fact that sales and business income taxes have tracked above budgeted levels in recent months indicates that New Jersey’s diversified economy continues to grow stronger.”

Things can always change and if revenues end up falling short of Christie’s projections for this Fiscal Year of the next, there are technically two ways to balance the budget; tax increases or spending cuts. The latter is the only real option because Christie has vowed not to raise taxes.

“He pledged that he wasn’t going to raise taxes because the previous ten years (prior to Christie taking office) we raised taxes something like 115 times,” explains Senator Tony Bucco, the ranking Republican on the budget panel. “If revenues are falling short we’re going to have to sit down with the administration and find out where we can cut, but I don’t anticipate that. I think we’re going to be fine.”

Because there seems to be an uptick in new car and home sales, Bucco says he is optimistic that the Treasurer will have even more good news today.

The Governor relentlessly criticizes the Democrat-controlled legislature for raises taxes before he became the state’s chief executive. He never hesitates to take shot at the previous three Governors, Jim McGreevey, Dick Codey and Jon Corzine (all Democrats) for leading the way in hiking taxes.

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