Gov. Chris Christie could miss his revenue targets by $637 million at the end of the next fiscal year, according to new projections by the Legislature’s budget researchers.
The Office of Legislative Services will present its latest revenue outlook to lawmakers on the Assembly Budget Committee Thursday. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the report in advance of the hearing.
The report shows the administration could miss revenue estimates by $302 million in the current fiscal year and by an additional $335 million in fiscal year that starts July 1. The state constitution requires the budget to remain in balance, so if the latest projections hold, corresponding spending cuts would be required.
Treasurer Andrew Eristoff will also present his take on the budget Thursday, likely re-igniting a partisan feud over tax collections and spending that culminated last year with the Republican governor calling nonpartisan legislative budget expert David Rosen the “Dr. Kevorkian of numbers.”
The administration’s tax collection targets for FY13 have so far fallen short, but the past three months have exceeded expectations and fueled hope that the state’s economy is rebounding.
Democrats had accused the administration of inflating the growth rate for the year, but they too signed off on a budget that relied on revenue growth of more than 7 percent, the highest of any state in the country.
The most recent report says nearly the entire difference between the administration’s revenue outlook and that of the legislative analyst is due to differing expectations for growth in the remaining months of the current fiscal year. The two sides have nearly identical revenue estimates for the next fiscal year, but the legislative estimate begins from a lower base.
The Assembly panel is reviewing the administration’s $32.9 billion spending plan for the upcoming year. Lawmakers must act on the plan by June 30.