From the Philly Inquirer:
New Jersey is facing a “historic tax-revenue collapse” that could leave the state with a $100 million deficit by the end of the next fiscal year.
That was the assessment of Budget and Finance Officer David Rosen of the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services, who presented his findings to the Senate budget committee yesterday.
“New Jersey finds itself in the most significant revenue downturn in its modern history,” Rosen said.
Rosen projected that New Jersey would bring in $606 million less in revenue than previously anticipated by the Corzine administration from the current fiscal year through the end of the next on June 30, 2010.
If that estimate holds true, the state would be forced to make more spending cuts or increase revenue to balance the budget, as required by the state constitution.
Rosen said that only twice in the last four decades did the state’s revenue decline from one year to the next. Revenue declined 2.1 percent in fiscal 1975 and 1.9 percent in 2002, he said.
The Office of Legislative Services estimates that revenue for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, will drop 11 percent from the previous year. For fiscal 2010, OLS projects a decrease of 3.7 percent.
Declining income, sales, and corporate tax revenues helped fuel the projections.
State Treasurer David Rousseau, who addressed the Senate budget committee yesterday afternoon, noted that a difference of $600 million over two years of state revenues amounted to less than 1 percent. But he acknowledged that the difference, if accurate, would affect the budget.
Rousseau said the administration would adjust revenue estimates downward if warranted.
“This administration continues to work to find every dollar of savings we can, and we will not shirk our responsibility to provide additional recommendations to balance the [fiscal 2009 and 2010] budgets if further revenue reductions are warranted,” Rousseau said.
Rousseau is slated to present new revenue figures in late May, which will include critical April tax collections.