Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Paul Sarlo said today any talk of a tax cut by the governor is heavily premature given the latest round of revenue figures which show the state missing projections by almost 5 percent.
Sarlo and his fellow legislative Democrats put the brakes on a proposed tax cut pushed by Gov. Chris Christie, telling the governor they would wait until the end of the calendar year to gauge state revenues before deciding if the state could afford the cut.
“The only cuts we can be talking about right now are budget cuts,” Sarlo said. “Clearly the governor will have to come back to us with a proposal to provide significant cuts to his budget before every credit agency begins to downgrade our ratings.”
Asked if the first two months were enough of a barometer, Sarlo said Democrats would still wait until the end of the year to determine where the state’s fiscal picture stands.
“We will still give him the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “Come January we’ll take close look at it. We made a commitment and we’ll honor it. But this is certainly a bad start. The governor’s and my New York Mets got off to a better start than this.”
Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Vincent Prieto called the numbers concerning in light of testimony earlier today from Office of Legislative Services budget chief David Rosen, who told lawmakers the state would need revenue growth of 8.2 percent to make up for a $254 million shortfall in the last fiscal year.
“Unfortunately this is not a surprise considering all the poor economic indicators and warnings by numerous financial experts that the governor’s numbers aren’t going to add up,” Prieto saidin a statement. “As I’ve said before, we all want a successful state, but we need to work with reality, and it’s clear Gov. Christie is instead more focused on politics. These numbers are even more concerning considering the 8.2 percent growth that Dr. Rosen says is needed just to make up for the shortfall from last fiscal year.”