Greenwald defends revenue numbers

TRENTON – The Democratic majority’s budget is relying on projections that, according to Budget Officer Lou Greenwald (D-6), chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, are more accurate than the Department of Treasury projections.

Based on Office of Legislative Services estimates, the Democrats are expecting roughly $800 million in revenue this fiscal year, or nearly $300 million more than Gov. Chris Christie certified based on Treasury estimates.

“We are not obligated (to use Treasury estimates),” Greenwald said. “You have the absolute ability to make it higher or lower.”

“You’re using the higher number then?” Assemblyman Anthony Bucco (R-25), of Boonton, asked.

“The governor can change these numbers,” Greenwald said. “It is in fact taking a very conservative approach based on the track record of OLS.”

“This is not really about creating new programs,” he said in response to GOP critics. It’s about funding already existing programs like legal services for needy and women’s health funding.

Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon (R-12), of Little Silver, said OLS projections could be wrong, or “at best irrelevant since the only ones that count are those of our administration.”

“I believe the governor will properly rectify some of the problems with his budget,” O’Scanlon said, casting his vote against the budget.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-35), of Passaic, said, historically, OLS is closer on average “each and every year” by $50 million verses Treasury projections.

Greenwald defends revenue numbers