N.J. revenues still lag behind Christie projections

New Jersey lawmakers are concerned about state revenues continuing to miss targets.

An anticipated $240 million shortfall for the fiscal year that ended in June means revenues will have to grow 8.2 percent to meet Gov. Chris Christie’s projections in the new state budget, according to David Rosen, legislative budget analyst.

Assemblyman Vinnie Prieto, chairman of the Assembly budget committee, said Wednesday if that doesn’t happen, spending cuts might be needed.

“Potentially there may have to be, and we want to make sure we know ahead of time so we can adjust for those so some of the services that are very needed by some of the resident of the state of New Jersey as a safety net for them to be there for them,” said Prieto, D-Hudson.

Republican members of the budget committee say there’s no need to panic.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon says New Jersey’s budget is very dependent on taxes paid on Wall Street earnings, and he says stock market gains this year are on pace to produce a substantial increase in state revenues.

“Last year the market was pretty much flat,” said O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth. “This year you’re on track to have a 20 percent increase. If that happens we could end up with a surprising substantial upside in revenues.”

Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris, noted the revenue shortfall is less than 1 percent of spending.

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