New Jersey budget gap keeps growing
APRIL 14, 2014, 10:30 PM LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2014, 10:32 PM
BY JOHN REITMEYER
STATE HO– USE BUREAU
Four days after a downgraded credit rating, New Jersey has more bad financial news: Tax collections were once again short of Governor Christie’s already lowered expectations.
This time, the gap was $145 million for March – a full 7 percent short of what Christie projected for the month, according to data released Monday by the state Department of Treasury.
That means the Christie administration has to make up that gap with just three months left in the state’s fiscal year, time that includes the crucial income tax collection month of April. Already, the administration has said it cut nearly $700 million in spending to help balance Christie’s $33 billion budget after an earlier shortfall. More money was also raised this year by restructuring state tobacco bonds.
Treasury officials attributed the weaker-than-expected March tax collections to the lingering effects of harsh weather in February, and also to taxpayers’ use of new technology that is allowing income tax refunds to go out at a much faster rate than in prior years.
“Accelerated refund payments, in addition to February’s harsh weather, constrained March cash collections compared to projections,” Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff said. “We do not believe these factors will carry over to April and the balance of the fiscal year.”