Senate Budget panel wants to hear from Treasurer, OLS on FY13 picture

TRENTON – The chairman of the Senate budget panel has invited the State Treasurer and another budget official to appear before the committee next week.

Sen. Paul Sarlo, (D-36), Wood-Ridge, has asked Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff to appear at Thursday’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing to update lawmakers on Fiscal Year 2013 revenues. The committee has also asked David Rosen, of the Office of Legislative Services, to appear before the committee.

The hearing comes on the heels of the latest round of poor revenue news and as the state is eyeing a shortfall in the range of $600 million to $1 billion, Sarlo said.

“We’re basically in the six-month period, the halfway mark,” Sarlo said. “I think everybody recognizes now that there will be a revenue shortfall and it could be significant.”

The Senate budget lawmaker said legislators “want to talk to both OLS and the treasurer about what kind of trends [they can expect] for the next six months.

“This is not a witch hunt,” stressed Sarlo, who has often been an outspoken critic of Gov. Chris Christie during budget negotiations.

“This is two branches of government working together,” he said, adding, it’s not a “gotcha hearing.”

Sarlo said the revenue numbers already reported by the state do not encompass the likely monetary hit New Jersey is expected to sustain following the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. The lawmaker said he expects the storm will dig even deeper and hurt the state’s finances.

“It’s going to have a greater impact on the revenue shortfall, absolutely,” he said.

Sarlo said he has not yet heard whether the treasurer will attend, and the Treasury Department has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Senate Budget panel wants to hear from Treasurer, OLS on FY13 picture