NJ lawmakers, Christie administration on same page as budget talks begin

 New Jersey Treasurer Andrew Eristoff testifies Monday before the Assembly Budge Committee. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey Treasurer Andrew Eristoff testifies Monday before the Assembly Budge Committee. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

As they examine Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed budget, New Jersey lawmakers questioned the state treasurer about some key issues. They also found themselves in unfamiliar territory — on the same page with the governor’s revenue estimates.

 

Legislative leaders and the governor are still haggling over how to replenishing the Transportation Trust Fund, the fund dedicated to road and bridge repairs throughout the state.

But Treasurer Andrew Eristoff said Monday that repayments to New Jersey Transit and bond issues will fund necessary projects this year.

“I’m satisfied that we have the resources we need to continue the program in an orderly fashion through fiscal ’16 without arbitrary cuts and the kinds of things that would really do long-term disruption to the program and to the state,” he said during a budget hearing before the Assembly Budget Committee.

The Christie administration is confident it will prevail in its appeal of a judge’s order to make an additional $1.6 billion in pension fund payments this fiscal year, Eristoff said.

Coming up with that sum in the last few months of the fiscal year would disrupt the state and its residents, he said.

Legislative Budget Officer David Rosen said his revenue forecasts are very similar to the Christie administration’s projections.

“For fiscal year 2015 and 2016 combined, the OLS estimates $16.1 million more total revenue, a tiny difference of only two-hundreds of 1 percent.”

Assembly Budget Committee chairman Gary Schaer said it’s the first time in 21 years that the numbers coming from OLS and the administration are so similar.

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