Drop in spending will allow N.J. to handle $840 million revenue shortfall, treasurer says

Acting treasurer Ford Scudder says a decrease in New Jersey spending needs will allow the administration to close a $600 million budget gap in the fiscal year that ends in June. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Acting treasurer Ford Scudder says a decrease in New Jersey spending needs will allow the administration to close a $600 million budget gap in the fiscal year that ends in June. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

The Christie administration is taking steps to deal with an estimated $840 million revenue shortfall for the current and next fiscal years.

Acting treasurer Ford Scudder said Wednesday a decrease in spending needs will allow the administration to close the $600 million budget gap in the fiscal year that ends in June.

“Trending savings across programs account for most of the projected underspending,” Scudder said. “Thankfully, the strong economy is allowing for lower spending across many of the state’s social programs.”

A projected $240 million budget gap in the next fiscal year can be offset by cutting spending on charity care and slowing the payment of business tax credits, Scudder said.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli questioned what kind of message that sends to businesses.

“I’m wondering what that’s going to do for confidence with the next people that are making investments based on anticipation of tax credits,” he said.

Assembly Budget Committee chairman Gary Schaer said the administration’s plan to close the budget gap seems reasonable.

“I wouldn’t disagree that these are probably the least disturbing, the least harmful,” he said. “But nonetheless, they’re deleterious to New Jersey’s economy and our ability to move forward.”

Even with the revenue concerns, Scudder said the state is on track to make planned increases in payments into the public employee pension system.

“We’re working toward making the full pension payment over time,” he said. “We’ll be still doing three-tenths this year and four-tenths next year and working towards full arc over the 10-year path.”

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