N.J. budget shortfall $275 million more than expected

A state bond filing shows New Jersey’s shortfall for the budget year that ended in June was $275 million more than the $1.3 billion the Christie administration estimated.



Assembly Budget Committee chairman Gary Schaer said the shortfall amounts to almost all of the surplus in this year’s budget.

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“Any additional shortfalls will have considerable effects in terms of the budget and might require us midyear to make unanticipated, unexpected, and unwelcome cuts.” he said Wednesday.

Schaer says it’s too soon to tell which programs might have to be cut. according to Schaer, D- Passaic.

Most of the shortfall stemmed from lower than projected corporate business tax collections. That, said Schaer, indicates that the Christie administration’s efforts to encourage business development are not having the intended result.

Standard & Poor’s cut in the state’s credit rating, the eighth downgrade since Gov. Chris Christie took office, is adding to Schaer’s concern.

“Those downgrades represent higher costs to taxpayers when we go out to bond, additional costs down the road,” he said. “The declination figure from A plus to an A will cost New Jerseyans money.”

Standard & Poor’s cited unbalanced budgets and the state’s unfunded pension liability in downgrading New Jersey’s credit one step, from A+ to A, with a stable outlook. Fitch Ratings also reduced the state’s bond rating by one step last week.

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