AP News

Report: NJ's revenues fall short for fiscal 2012


TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Legislature's nonpartisan budget analyst reported Monday that the state's revenue fell $254 million below projections for fiscal 2012, a number that Gov. Chris Christie dismissed.

The figures released Monday by the Office of Legislative Services are not good news for New Jersey, but they aren't catastrophic in a state where this year's overall spending plan is nearly $32 billion.

The routine report set off anger from Christie, who has made the OLS and its budget projections some of his favorite targets. "All of this stuff is blatantly political," he said Monday during an event in Haddonfield.

Officials at the OLS could not be reached Monday evening.

Christie said the final, official revenue figures for the fiscal year that ended June 30 will be released in December or January — and only then will the state have a better sense of where it stands.

The Republican governor, who is pushing for tax cuts, has an interest in showing that the state's economy is on better footing, and that the state revenues are following. In June, the Democrat-controlled Legislature adopted a budget calling for some tax cuts but said a final decision on whether to implement them should be delayed until it was clear the state treasury could afford them.

In Haddonfield on Monday, Christie pointed out that last month, an OLS memo reported the shortfall for last year could be as high as $542 million.

But David Rosen, the Legislature's budget expert, cautioned in the August memo that the numbers were preliminary and could be subject to adjustments of $200 to $300 million.

His adjustment — the one released Monday — turned out to be at the high end of that range.

His latest report found income tax collection was about $209 million higher than projected, but corporate tax collections were $287 million below expectations.

Most other revenue streams brought in less than expected but by smaller amounts.

With the exception of casino and bank and financials, every revenue stream brought in more in fiscal 2012 than the previous year, the report found.

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