N.J. Tax Receipts Missed Christie Target by $288 Million

New Jersey tax collections fell $288 million below Governor Chris Christie’s fiscal 2012 target, winding up closer to projections made by a legislative analyst the Republican once called the “Dr. Kevorkian of the numbers.”

Christie, who is seeking a second term in November’s state election, battled with David Rosen, a budget analyst with the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services, after Rosen warned lawmakers that 2012 revenue was short of plan by $250 million.

Receipts came to almost $29.1 billion for the 12 months that ended June 30, while the budget Christie signed in 2011 called for $29.4 billion, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report posted yesterday and budget documents. Rosen’s warning in September led lawmakers to block funding for a tax-cut proposal from Christie, who is 50 years old.

“We had the right message: Let’s wait and see,” Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, a Democrat from Secaucus who leads the chamber’s budget panel, said in an interview. Lawmakers had set aside $183 million to cover the governor’s tax-relief program and have refused to release the money.

Bill Quinn, a Treasury spokesman, declined to comment on the annual financial report.

Christie’s administration trimmed some spending and moved money between accounts to cover most of the 2012 revenue shortfall. The administration covered a remaining $123 million gap by drawing down the year-end balance, leaving the amount that can be applied to this year’s spending plan at $446 million, state documents indicate.

2014 Outlook

The governor’s 2013 budget counted on a $570 million carryover from the previous year. The lower actual amount may affect his 2014 spending plan if revenue continues to trail targets through June.

Christie’s characterization of Rosen in May followed the analyst’s statement that state revenue may miss the governor’s projections by as much as $1.8 billion through the end of the current fiscal year, potentially dousing the Republican’s tax-cut plans. Dr. Jack Kevorkian advocated for the legalization of assisted suicide before he died in June 2011.

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