N.J. 2012 Tax Revenue May Miss Target by $254 Million

New Jersey tax receipts fell $254 million short of Governor Chris Christie’s fiscal 2012 budget forecast, according to a nonpartisan report on year-end figures.

The 12-month total through June was $25.4 billion, or about 0.8 percent less than the $25.6 billion estimated by Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff in May, David Rosen, the Legislature’s chief budget officer, said yesterday in a memo. He said revenue from 14 major tax sources rose 2.9 percent from fiscal 2011.

Christie, 50, dismissed the memo as “blatantly political,” in comments to reporters in Haddonfield. The first-term Republican said some receipts still haven’t been counted, and that the budget officer’s figures aren’t credible. A report from Rosen last month said collections were as much as $540 million less than targeted.

“The Democrats want to continue playing these political games and justifying their unwillingness to give tax relief to people,” Christie said. The party controls the Legislature.

The figures from Rosen, which reflect year-end accounting adjustments, aren’t official until the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report comes out later this year. Rosen said that while some revenue still hasn’t been counted, the figures in his report make up about 88 percent of all receipts.

The governor has traveled the state touting a “Jersey Comeback,” an economic-recovery plan that includes tax relief. Democrats didn’t include levy rollbacks in the $31.7 billion fiscal 2013 budget, as they weren’t certain whether revenue would meet the governor’s targets, according to party leaders.

Budget Surplus

Christie’s plan projected a surplus of more than $600 million in the current fiscal year, which began July 1.

Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, a Democrat from Secaucus who leads that chamber’s budget panel, said Rosen’s figures showed “a disconcerting trend.”

“The shortfall means this year’s budget starts with $254 million less than anticipated, requiring even higher growth than was already assumed by Governor Christie to meet his targets,” Prieto said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we have yet to see any signs of such a so-called comeback, despite the constant spin that budget shortfalls have been tackled.”

Income-tax receipts, at $11.1 billion, were $208.7 million more than estimated. Sales levies produced about $7.95 billion, or $99 million less than projected in May.

“This revenue significantly underperformed expectations during the last three months of the fiscal year,” Rosen said of the sales tax. Receipts from it rose 2.3 percent from 2011.

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