TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie’s office responded to the news of a memo by the Office of Legislative Services stating the fiscal year’s revenue would be short of projections, calling the nonpartisan group’s analysis “hasty and speculative,” and “dour.”
OLS projected a revenue shortfall between $150 million and $200 million from May figures, according to the memo.
Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts said that OLS has been wrong on similar projections in prior years. Christie has slammed OLS Budget Officer David Rosen, calling him the “Dr. Kevorkian” of numbers.
Roberts added that the revenue picture at the close of Fiscal Year 2012 “is actually stronger than last year and showing signs of continued growth just as the Treasurer (Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff) discussed in May.”
Roberts also said that there’s been an $85 million increase in revenues from the corporate, sales and incomes taxes from May.
“It’s that simple. Despite the panicked estimates offered in the Rosen memo, reality is a completely different story. The reality is that actual June figures keep us in line with or above Treasury projections, putting us on pace to meet the $648 million fund balance certified for the fiscal year 2013 budget.”
Roberts also said there have been several economic indicators that have shown positive signs. They include a 30 percent growth in realty transfer fees over last year, a 6 percent growth in home sales and a 13 percent increase in new car sales.
Rosen’s memo added that OLS is not expecting any significant information for the remaining summer months.
Christie has touted the “Jersey Comeback” for much of the year, which is literally and figuratively based on optimistic revenue growth of more than 7 percent. However, for the past several months, revenues have consistently fallen below projections.
Just last week, Christie made the case in a special session to provide immediate tax relief. While Democrats agreed to bank some $183 million for that purpose, they want to wait until January to make sure the state’s revenue picture is healty before providing a tax cut.
Christie said the state can afford a tax cut now because it has a surplus of hundreds of millions of dollars.