Weekly Roundup: Week of July 9

TRENTON – About the only fireworks that took place over the past week was the apparent leak of an Office of Legislative Services revenue projections memo, and the vastly different reactions it produced from Democrats and the Christie Administration.

As has become customary, the administration blasted the most recent memo, which projects a revenue shortfall for the end of the current fiscal year to be as much as $200 million. Administration spokesman Kevin Roberts called it “speculative” among other things. OLS has always had a special place within the administration, just not a very endearing one.

The governor, who was out of town the whole week, previously blasted OLS budget officer David Rosen, calling him the “Dr. Kevorkian” of budget numbers whose projections have been frequently inaccurate.

Economists’ prognosis 

The state still has a long way to go in its economic recovery. That was the assessment from several experts gathered for an economic summit run by the New Jersey League of Municipalities Educational Foundation at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University. 

Experts said municipalities can expect to face fiscal constraints for some time to come due to diminished state aid and stagnant revenues, equally disappointing property values, and changing demographics that reflect a more transient lifestyle and challenge the traditional image of the American Dream.

Business Friendly? 

The Christie Administration often talks about strides it has made since coming into office in improving the state’s business climate, citing achievements such as business tax cuts and the retention of large companies.

However, a CNBC survey apparently disagreed with that assessment, as it ranked the Garden State 41st out of 50 states in its study of state business climates. Even a bigger blow, the  state actually fell 11 spots from last year when it ranked number 30. It ranked very low in such areas as infrastructure and cost of living.

Acting Gov Kim Guadagno, whose office of the lieutenant governor focuses heavily on attracting businesses, slammed the survey, saying it carries little merit since the survey’s methodology is unknown.

The governor is expected to return next week.

Weekly Roundup: Week of July 9