OLS predicting $1.3 billion revenue shortfall

The Office of Legislative Services is predicting revenue through Fiscal Year 2013 will fall $1.3 billion below administration projections.

In an email to legislators, OLS budget chief David Rosen outlines the recently reported revenue shortfalls, saying the trend is likely to continue.

“Our downward revisions to the revenue forecast for the major taxes are in line with the trends that we have been observing,” Rosen said in the email. “In addition earlier this month we became aware of a significant shortfall in energy taxes during the second half of this fiscal year.”

Last week, the administration announced that revenues for April were off by $184 million, brining the year to date total shortfall to $230 million.  In a supplement included with a bond offering, the state outlined a further $120 million shotfall in energy tax revenues.

The April miss caused OLS to sharply revise their projection, more than doubling their March estimate of a $539 million shortfall.

Both Rosen and State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff are slated to testify before legislative budget committees this week.  Their revenue projections are likely to set off a round of partisan bickering over the upcoming budget and could put plans for a tax cut in jeopardy.

Last week, administration officials cautioned that with two months of revenue collections left in Fiscal Year 2012, it is too early for grave predictions.  

Democrats wasted no time in jumping on the numbers.

“We’ll have more to say after we hear from the treasurer, but clearly it’s time for Gov. Christie to finally come to grips with the reality that his policies have led to 9.1 percent unemployment, higher-than-ever property taxes and a serious budget problem of his own making,” said Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Vincent Prieto. “This isn’t a comeback. This is a major setback. Gov. Christie needs to once and for all give up his mantra of tax cuts for the mega-rich and begin joining us in our fight for our middle-class, poor and seniors.”

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo also called on Christie to recognize that the state’s economy is not rosy.

“The shortfall is no longer some imaginary thing that can be dismissed with a wave, a pithy statement and a catchy slogan. It is very real. And it is very troubling,” Sarlo said. “I can only hope that the administration will take this news together with the latest unemployment numbers and reach the same conclusion that middle-class families across the state already have. We are not in a ‘comeback.’ We’re barely out of the pits and stuck in neutral in turn one.”

OLS predicting $1.3 billion revenue shortfall