TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie is violating his own executive order by refusing to release Treasury Department reports on revenue collections for June and July, according to state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) .
“We have to assume that revenue collections for the last two months are once again coming in below Gov. Christie’s overly optimistic projections,” Buono said. “If the numbers were good, they would already be on YouTube. Obviously, he doesn’t want the truth about New Jersey’s revenues to come out before the Republican National Convention because it would show that his ‘New Jersey Comeback’ is a public relations fantasy.”
She later released a letter from David Rosen, Legislative Budget and Finance Officer for the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services, that showed state revenue collections are running $540 million below Christie administration targets for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Rosen wrote: “Total collections according to the State’s Comprehensive Financial System are about $24.156 billion compared to a target of $24.698 billion in the Treasurer’s May 23, 2012 testimony to the Legislative Budget Committees. The difference between expected and realized revenue ($542.0 million) will be reduced in the coming weeks by a number of large and small year-end accounting adjustments. Typically, these adjustments shift between $200 million to $300 million from the new fiscal year to the old fiscal year.”
Buono pointed out that Christie’s revenue growth projection of 7.3 percent for the current fiscal year was the highest in the country – even though New Jersey ranked 47th in the nation in economic growth in both 2010 and 2011, and even though New Jersey’s unemployment rate of 9.6 percent was the fifth-highest in the country.
“Every fiscal expert out there questioned Christie’s revenue numbers,” Buono said. “How can Christie be running around the state calling for an immediate tax cut when he won’t be honest about whether revenues are coming in on target? Fortunately for New Jersey taxpayers, the Democratic leadership in the Senate and the Assembly were responsible and insisted that we wait to see the revenue numbers before approving a tax cut.”
Buono noted that during his first week in office, Christie issued Executive Order No. 8 requiring his Treasury Department to publish detailed monthly reports on state revenues. The reports for March, April and May showed state revenues coming in below his official administration projections.
She said that Christie’s failure to release the June and July revenue numbers puts him in direct violation of his own executive order. Executive Order 8 (attached) requires that:
“The Department of the Treasury shall publish a monthly revenue report. Such report shall identify and explain, with respect to each revenue source, any significant variance between the actual amount received by the Treasury and the amount forecast in the State Budget. Such reports shall be published not later that the 10th business day of the next succeeding month, with the exception of June revenues, which may be reported later in July.”
Christie issued a short press release yesterday claiming that tax collections were up by three percent in July over the same month last year, but did not release the monthly revenue report required by his executive order. No revenue numbers were released for June.
“Christie is flying around the country raising money for Romney when he should be worried about the money his Treasury Department is taking in,” Buono said. “If Christie thinks his ‘New Jersey Comeback’ is on track, there’s one way to prove it. Show us the money.”