Governor’s Budget Projections Too Optimistic, According To OLS

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TRENTON – Gov. Chris Chrisie’s revenue projections for the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget are too optimistic, according to the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS).

In testimony to the state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today, Legislative Budget and Finance Officer David J. Rosen said that his office projects a lower rate of growth than the executive estimate, which leads to a difference of $392 million in anticipated revenue for Fiscal Year 2013. The OLS estimate calls for a 6.5 percent growth rate, while the governor’s office projects a 7.3 percent growth rate.

The executive office revenue projections for the current fiscal year are also $145 million higher than estimates by the OLS. “Over the two years the difference between our estimates and executive’s is $537 million,” Rosen said.

Senate Republican Budget Officer Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) dismissed the concerns. “[I]n the context of a $30 billion budget, the gap is quite small,” he said. “[O]ur Treasurer has been astonishingly accurate over the course of the last two years.”

“Revenue forecasts will always be wrong to some degree,” Rosen said. “The difference between our forecast and that of the executive averages about one percent over the two years and while one percent is a very small margin, the $537 million difference is highly significant as you craft your budget.”

Rosen also cautioned lawmakers that cash reserves in Christie’s budget proposal – a projected surplus of less than one percent – might not be sufficient if revenue collection fails to meet targets.


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