$253M Tax Revenue Shortfall Raises Doubts About Gov. Christie’s Income Tax Cuts

September 11, 2012 | By
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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R)

TRENTON — State tax revenue in the last fiscal year fell $253 million short of Gov. Chris Christie’s projections, according to legislative report released Monday, raising fresh doubts about the governor’s proposed income tax cut.

The report issued by the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services also went a long way toward settling a colorful — though one-sided — feud between Christie and the Legislature’s top budget officer, David Rosen.

In May, Rosen told lawmakers that Christie’s projections for the remainder of fiscal 2012, which ended June 31, would come in $150 million lower than he expected. Infuriated, the governor called Rosen “the Dr. Kevorkian of the numbers” and suggested he should be fired for being wrong so often.

Rosen was indeed wrong. Christie’s estimates were off $250 million — not $150 million — about 1 percent of the $29.1 billion budget, according to Monday’s report.

Confronted with the troubling figures, Christie doubled down on his criticism of Rosen and accused him of being a tool of the Democrats. He insisted that just last month Rosen predicted fiscal 2012 would come in about $542 million short of the governor’s projections.

“I’m sure they’re popping the champagne over there at OLS,” Christie said. “They got within $290 million. Why aren’t you at David Rosen’s office asking the good doctor how was he $280 million wrong in a month?”

What Christie didn’t mention was that Rosen said at the time there was a shortfall of $542 million in the state’s accounting system — plucked from the administration’s books — but would ultimately shrink by $300 million.

Christie’s panglossian budget predictions have come under fire from major bond rating agencies to state economists and Democratic lawmakers since he declared in January the state was witnessing a “Jersey Comeback.”

Democrats in Trenton disagreed enough to hand the forceful governor a legislative setback and adopt a wait-and-see approach on the tax cuts.

Leading Democrats quickly jumped on yesterday’s report — much as they have on New Jersey’s rising unemployment rate, now at 9.8 percent — as evidence that their cautious approach was the more responsible path.

“Hopefully things will turn around, but that is why we we’re being prudent,” Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), the budget committee chairman, said. “Everybody loves a tax cut, but can we afford it is the question.”

Read the whole story: NJ

Related Coverage:

Report: N.J. tax revenue for last fiscal year falls $253M short of Gov. Christie’s expectations

Gov. Christie to state budget officer: ‘This guy can’t get it right’

Memo: N.J. revenue for last fiscal year is $200M short of Christie’s revised projections


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