Both Gov. Christopher Christie and former Gov. Jon Corzine said that today’s testimony by an Office of Legislative Services (OLS) budget officer “confirmed” their side of the spat over just how large a deficit the state faces come June 30.
The officer, David J. Rosen, said it was “not unreasonable” to predict that the state would be more than $1 billion in the red by June.
“The non-partisan Office of Legislative Services today confirmed what we’ve been saying all along – New Jersey is confronting a budget deficit of approximately $1.3 billion for the balance of the fiscal year. There are no phantom surpluses or face-saving magic numbers to fix the mess we have inherited. Now is the time to move forward and focus on tackling this very real problem head on,” said Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak.
But Corzine spokesman Josh Zeitz said the testimony actually vindicated the outgoing governor, who last week responded angrily to Christie’s claim that he hid a $1.3 billion deficit from the new administration. Zeitz told the Star-Ledger last week that Corzine had, in fact, left Christie a $496 million surplus.
“Today, OLS confirmed what we already knew: no one will really be able to predict revenue for the remainder of the year until April’s income tax returns come in. That is why OLS has not issued its own projections,” he said. “To suggest that Dr. Rosen independently confirmed Gov. Christie’s revenue projections is a clear misreading of his testimony. Dr. Rosen drew a clear distinction between the operating budget, which is in surplus, and long-term projections, which remain a matter of pure conjecture. We all want to give the administration time to get on its feet. But it’s important that they stop misrepresenting the current balance sheet, which is very much in the black because of Jon Corzine’s record of fiscal responsibility.