On the surface the news looked pretty grim for Garden State residents on Tuesday – thanks to an unanticipated drop in tax revenues of $402 million this year and $365 million next year.
But a new budget hole of nearly $800 million is not going to give Gov. Christie a single new white hair. At least this time, the governor’s message is “gotcha covered.”
“We’re very confident we’ve been able to close the additional budget gap in (fiscal year) 2010 and in (fiscal year) 2011 we’re going to be able to solve that problem without any new taxes at all and without any real significant cuts,” Christie said.
Skipping the “fiscalese,” what happened was the budget freeze imposed by Gov. Christie when he took office generated more savings than expected, enough to cover much of the lost tax money.
“I think we’re going to be fine,” Christie said.
Despite Tuesday’s relatively good news negotiating a new budget with the Legislature remains a problem. Christie wants to slash education spending and enact other cuts. They want new taxes, preferably another millionaire’s tax.
But Christie isn’t going for any new taxes. He said New Jersey taxes have already been raised an unbelievable 115 times.
“We’re not raising taxes, Marcia. That’s it. It’s not happening,” Christie said.
The governor and Legislature are supposed to reach a budget agreement by the end of next month. If not, they could end up like New York, which is now nearly two months into a budget stalemate.