NJ Budget Numbers Less Rosy than Christie’s

The bi-partisan research arm of New Jersey's Legislature presented figures Tuesday that contradict revenue estimates from the Christie Administration.

The governor’s budget proposal inflated its estimate of how much money the state will collect over the next 15 months by more than half a billion dollars, according to David Rosen,  budget and finance officer for the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services. He projects New Jersey will take in $537 million less in taxes and fees than the administration forecasts.

The difference is a fraction of the $32.1 billion budget Christie has proposed for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The primary difference in the two estimates is how much each side believes the state’s economy will grow in the next year.

New Jersey Democrats say the state could collect that half a billion if it raised the income tax on people who earn more than a million dollars a year. Democrats are proposing raising the tax rate from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent on the state’s estimated 16,000 millionaires.

The governor opposes the tax because he believes it would harm economic growth and cause the state's wealthiest people to move away.

Democrats say if he continues to oppose the tax, they'll put a referendum before New Jersey voters in November 2013, the same ballot that Christie would be on to seek a second term, if he chooses.

Read Rosen’s full report.