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NJ Faces a $526 Million Revenue Shortfall

New Jersey revenues are projected to fall $526 million behind Gov. Chris Christie’s projections for the coming fiscal year, a top budget analyst for the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services told the State Senate Budget Committee Tuesday.

Governor Chris Christie gives the Budget Address in the Assembly Chambers at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

“For the current year, OLS estimates total revenues of $32.34 billion, or $217 million less than the Executive,” explained OLS Legislative Budget and Finance Officer Dr. David Rosen. “In FY 2015 [which begins July 1], OLS estimates $34.14 billion, or $309 million less than the Executive.”

Combined, the two-year difference is $526 million, but that is the smallest forecast difference in the last three budget cycles and represents just 0.8 percent for the two fiscal years combined.

“My discussion of state revenues may strike some as, in the words of New Jersey Hall of Fame member Yogi Berra, ‘déjà vu all over again,’” Rosen said. “The broad economic outlook continues to improve at a slow, reasonably steady pace.”

The shortfall will be made up primarily through the use of unspent money that was already budgeted said State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff. He also told the committee that the economy is trending positively.

“Personal incomes have been rising to regular new all-time highs,” explained Sidamon-Eristoff. “Over the last 14 months, unemployment has dropped farther and faster in New Jersey than in every other state except Nevada and the two Carolinas, from 9.1 percent in Dec. 2012 to 7.1 percent in Feb. 2014.”

The State Treasurer is expected to testify before the budget panel Tuesday afternoon.

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