By Desirée Taylor
The Office of Legislative Services’ latest preliminary state tax revenue numbers show revenues were about $542 million below the Christie Administration’s projections. Add to this yesterday’s disappointing jobs report, and Democrats question if this could be a sign of trouble.
“We’re over a half a billion dollars down over the two fiscal years,” said Democratic State Sen. Barbara Buono, vice-chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee. “And even if you take into account the adjustments they’ll make one fiscal year to another … we’re going to be significantly down.”
But Republicans paint a much different fiscal picture. “What I hear is revenue is up 2.5 percent compared to over a year ago. That’s good,” said Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick. “We also know under the Christie Administration we’ve had 70,000 new private sector jobs in approximately a year and a half to two years, so I think the trend is good.”
Democrats have been keeping a watchful eye on revenue collections partly because they chose to to hold off on Gov. Christie’s income tax cut plan until they improve. The Christie Administration stands by its projections. And in the past, it hasn’t put much stock in OLS figures, even though it’s non-partisan. Back in May, Christie had harsh words for its budget officer David Rosen, calling him “the Dr. Kevorkian of numbers.”
Adjustments will likely be made to the latest revenue numbers in the coming weeks. That’s when OLS expects to have a more complete picture of fiscal year 2012.