Lawmakers review N.J. budget projections

Democrats in the New Jersey Assembly said Thursday revenue reports from the Christie administration may be giving the wrong impression about the state’s finances.

The state treasurer’s office said income tax revenue in the first half of the fiscal year was 11 percent higher than forecast. However, Legislative Budget Officer David Rosen told the Assembly Budget Committee that revenue from the income tax is coming in about 1 percent below what the Office of Legislative Services anticipated.

That caused Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Lou Greenwald to question the Treasurer’s projections.

Rosen said the Administration spread the loss from the expiration of a tax surcharge on the wealthy over each of its monthly revenue projections. He says that loss will actually occur when people file their taxes in April and May.

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“It’s not coming in people’s paychecks. It’s coming in business income, capital gains, and so forth on which there is no withholding which doesn’t come in smoothly over the 12 months.”

Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon said it’s just a different method of accounting.

“As long as your numbers and the administration’s numbers and the real numbers at the end of the year all add up, there’s not a problem at all from a revenue standpoint,” he said.

Rosen said the state is on track to meet its revenue projections for the fiscal year.

Officials agree the worst of the economic downturn appears to be over and the state is on track to meet its revenue projections.

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