Revenue increase N.J. budget counts on is possible, experts say

Gov. Chris Christie’s budget proposal relies on a 7 percent increase in revenues in New Jersey’s next fiscal year. Economists say that’s an optimistic outlook.

Revenue growth will result from continued improvement in the state’s economy that will generate more jobs and income, said New Jersey Treasurer Andrew Eristoff.

That’s a reasonable assessment, said Kim Reuben, a research fellow at the Urban Institute.

“A number of people in New Jersey work in finance and the stock market is doing well, so I think they’re going to get more income tax revenues in from that,” Reuben said. “I think sales have been reasonable in part because there hasn’t been a lot of snow days.”

Rutgers University economist Joe Seneca said the revenue projection is possible as long as increasing gas prices or some global crisis does not derail the economy’s recovery.

“You have gas prices spiking and that could certainly put a damper nationally and in New Jersey on consumer spending,” Seneca said. “The other unknown, and it’s an unfolding slow-motion train wreck — a big unknown and uncertainty, I think is the European Union sovereign debt situation.”

Christie outlined his $32.1 billion spending plan Tuesday

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