Budget hearings scheduled

TRENTON – And …. They’re off and running.

Following up on Tuesday’s fiscal year 2014 budget address by the governor, the Assembly and Senate Budget committees have scheduled their first series of budget hearings.

Regarding the Assembly, The committee will hear testimony on issues regarding health, human services, seniors, families and children at 9:30 a.m. March 12 in room 11 of the Statehouse Annex.

Then it will convene to hear issues related to education, higher education, and local governments at 9:30 a.m. March 19 at Rutgers University-Newark.

The panel will take testimony on issues affecting public safety, economic development, transportation, environment, and arts, history and cultural matters at 9:30 a.m. April 9 at a site to be determined in South Jersey.

Regarding the Senate, the Budget Committee will take testimony on the budget at 9 a.m. March 5 in room 4 of the Statehouse Annex.

Then the Senate panel will convene at 9 a.m. March 20 at William Paterson University in Wayne.

Gov. Christie called for a $32.9 billion budget Tuesday.

The budget calls for revenues of $32.8 billion, a 4.9 percent increase over the adjusted Fiscal Year 2013 revenues, and leaves the state with a $300 million surplus.  State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff called the projection “conservative.”  That number includes $1.073 billion – 3 percent of the total – in non-recurring revenue. 

Included in the plan is a $1.675 billion pension contribution – the full amount called for under the pension overhaul signed by Christie in 2011.  The budget also calls for more than $8.6 billion in school aid, a $97 million bump over the current budget. Budget hearings scheduled