New Jersey's budget for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years, according to the Office of Legislative Services, were a combined $45 million less than what they projected in April.
That’s less than 0.1 percent of New Jersey’s $35 billion budget.
Said Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, D-29th District, who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee: “It’s a good and a bad thing. The good thing is that we’re pretty much on target. The bad thing is that were hoping to raise a little bit more when we started to see the January numbers.”
The news by OLS come less than two weeks after two modestly downbeat pieces of news out of Trenton: State income tax receipts were off $23.1 million, or 1 percent, at $2.3 billion in fiscal 2017, and consensus estimates suggest newly legalized sports-betting industry may produce upward of $20 million or so in new state revenue – a bit less than some had imagined.
“We’re not going have the windfall that we’re all hoping for based upon the ruling,” Senator Paul Sarlo, D-36th District, who chairs the Senate Budget Appropriations committee, said following the May 15 meeting. “But I still think you will see something in the $20 and $30 million range.”
Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, has called for $1.5 billion in revenue hikes, including bumping the sales tax back up to 7 percent from the current 6.625 percent, taxes on Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and recreational marijuana.
“Raising taxes in general is just a bad message,” Marin said. “I know we’ve talked about it for many years now [but] when we also see the economic growth and where it’s at, and we’ve been a little bit stagnant, compared to other states, I think that’s a tell-all as well. We want to make sure that New Jersey stays affordable.”
Murphy’s policy wish list has included public preschool, free county college, more college financial aid and large-scale improvements to NJ Transit.
Marin said that state officials would have to examine what they could and couldn’t afford in the budget but declined to go into specifics.