Analysis: NJ Faces Four-Year Fiscal Crisis

'Despite the deepening state fiscal crisis, the Fiscal Year 2015 budget that Christie proposed two months ago is likely to be enacted with few changes,' according to a new report on NJ Spotlight.

Written by Mark J. Magyar/NJ Spotlight

New Jersey is facing a four-year budget crisis, with the cost of pensions, retiree health care benefits and debt service projected to rise at least $4.6 billion over Gov. Chris Christie’s last four budgets, a NJ Spotlight analysis shows. The four-year jump would be equal to 14 percent of the current $32.6 billion budget, and would represent a significant challenge for any governor or Legislature.

But New Jersey’s fiscal crisis is deepened by four years of overborrowing that has bankrupted the Transportation Trust Fund a year early, a reliance on fiscal gimmicks and a cannibalization of the state surplus that led to Standard & Poor’s credit downgrade, and a governor so eager to cut taxes that he jumped at the idea of eliminating the $325 million realty transfer tax at the same time that he is proclaiming that New Jersey is like Detroit headed down the road to bankruptcy.

Furthermore, while New Jersey could conceivably cover its soaring pension, retiree health benefit and debt-service costs over the next four budgets, that depends on Wall Street’s bull market continuing at least another three years to keep tax revenue flowing in from thewealthy 1 percent who pay 40 percent of the state’s income tax. It was a “recession of the rich,” not the increase in middle-class unemployment, that sent state revenues plummeting from 2008 to 2010.

Despite the deepening state fiscal crisis, the Fiscal Year 2015 budget that Christie proposed two months ago is likely to be enacted with few changes. For the third year in a row, Christie Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff’s revenue projections are higher than those of the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services’ budget director, David Rosen.

Read more on NJ Spotlight...

Tex April 29, 2014 at 10:38 AM
No mention of Obama's economic policies affecting the economy? All the deficit adding stimulus spending and the $4 trillion printed by the Fed and what do we have for it other than the juiced stock markets? The bond markets, worldwide, have become completely distorted by these reckless policies.
BellairBerdan April 29, 2014 at 04:56 PM
Private industry did away with pensions so management could make 300 times what an average employee does instead of the 30 times it used to be when their employees got pensions. Christie has taken from every place he shouldn't in order to pay the bills and is leaving us with no surplus. He has set the time bomb to go off as soon as he leaves office. None of his policies have helped NJ. He took money from the middle class and poor to give to the millionaires because they would make jobs. They never did. He has no trouble spending money frivolously on things that benefit him personally. Nearly every state has recovered better than NJ has.
Beach_N8iv April 29, 2014 at 07:12 PM
Keep giving tax breaks to the super rich on the backs of what's left of the working class and this is what happens. And the Trenton Tyrant just stands there with his well rehearsed look of innocence. A million (of our) dollars for his lawyer cronies to find him blameless in the GWB scandal. Fiscal Conservative™.
Sal May 16, 2014 at 02:38 AM
NJ is in WORSE financial shape now than it was 4 years ago when Christie was first elected. Now as he destroys NJ further he would like to move onto the White House and also put our nation into worse shape. His only record is of FAILURES.


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