State Budgets 2012: New Jersey


New Jersey

To see more state budget news and information, visit State Budgets 2012

Budget Background:

  • Fiscal Year Begins: July 
  • Frequency of Legislative Cycle: Annual
  • Legislative Session for 2012: Convened January 10, 2012
  • Frequency of Budget Cycle: Annual

Learn more from the National Association of State Budget Officers

Budget News and Information: 2012


4/1/12: Tax-cut plans stay despite low outlook

Even though caution flags were being waved last week warning that state revenues might not meet Gov. Chris Christie’s projections, there was no talk about throttling back plans to cut taxes.  Democrats have advanced tax-credit counterproposals to Christie’s goal of cutting income taxes by 10 percent, so a shortfall could dent their plans as much as Christie’s. As a result, the conversation remains how, not whether, to build a tax cut.  Christie wants to cut all income tax rates by 10 percent. Democrats say that approach disproportionately helps the wealthy, because rates ramp up as incomes rise, so they are pitching an income-tax credit based on property taxes. Senators want a maximum credit of $1,000. Assembly members want to go to $2,000 and raise taxes on the rich to help pay for it.

Read more:

3/28/12: NJ budget officer challenges Christie on revenues

The research arm of the New Jersey Legislature estimates that the Christie administration will take in a half-billion dollars less than it has projected over the next 15 months. If the Office of Legislative Services' more conservative revenue estimate proves accurate, it could affect the increases Gov. Chris Christie has budgeted in aid to college students and a tax credit for the working poor.

Read more: Associated Press

3/27/12: N.J. treasurer defends Christie's $32.1B spending plan

Governor Christie is basing his “Jersey comeback” budget on a revenue estimate that is nearly $400 million higher than a new non-partisan forecast, an analysis that comes after a major Wall Street ratings agency called his expectations “optimistic.”  New Jersey Treasury officials, however, defended Christie’s $32.1 billion spending plan — and its $2.2 billion in projected revenue growth — by saying there are good reasons to justify those high expectations.  State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff on Tuesday told the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee that there are several strong signs the state economy is “coming back and growing” after several years of recession.

Read more:  The Record

3/20/12: N.J. education groups call for more state money for public and private schools

Education advocates took aim at the governor's proposed $32.1 billion state spending plan yesterday, urging the Assembly Budget Committee to direct more money to public and private schools.  While hundreds of millions in aid to public colleges and local schools was restored under Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal, many witnesses at the all-day hearing in Newark complained the assistance fell short of what is needed.

Read more: Star Ledger

3/18/12: Gov. Christie's budget projection is the most optimistic in nation 

When he hits the campaign trail these days, Gov. Chris Christie denounces the nation’s economy under President Obama, decrying unemployment and thundering that change is desperately needed.  "He said unemployment was never gonna go over 8 percent if we passed the stimulus plan," Christie said of Obama on the CBS program "Face the Nation" several weeks ago. "We went up over 10 percent." But when it comes to his own state, no governor in America is more upbeat than Christie, despite warnings from several economic experts that his optimism is misplaced.

Read more: Star Ledger

3/9/12: New Jersey Tax Cut Will Be Passed Before July, Christie Predicts

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the Republican whose state has the nation’s highest taxes, predicted he and Democrats who control the Legislature will work out lower levies before July 1.  Christie, who’s midway through his first term, is calling for a 10 percent income-tax cut over 36 months, which he’s said is possible now that the state’s “fiscal house is in order.”

Read more: Bloomberg

3/8/12: NJ governor will work with senate on tax cut plan

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday that he and the leader of the state Senate will work out a compromise on their competing income-tax reduction plans to provide a break to taxpayers in the year ahead, but the Republican governor declared an Assembly tax-cut proposal dead on arrival because it includes a surcharge on millionaires.  Christie said his plan to cut state income taxes by 10 percent over three budget years is similar to Democratic Senate President Stephen Sweeney's proposal to allow homeowners to take 10 percent of their property taxes as an income-tax credit.

Read more: CBS News

3/4/12: Legislature plans budget hearings

The process of crafting a state budget in the Legislature will begin in earnest next week with the first of a series of hearings on specific topics being held by the Assembly Budget Committee in Trenton.

Read more: Asbury Park Press

3/4/12: Christie administration budget grab of clean energy money criticized

Gov. Chris Christie’s new budget was balanced in part thanks to $210 million from a clean energy fund the Board of Public Utilities collected from gas and electric ratepayers’ bills.  While the practice isn’t new, the move to claim the surplus funds irked a diverse swathe of critics including activists, business groups and the state’s ratepayer advocate.

Read more: Star Ledger

2/29/12: Christie Income Tax Cut Wins Most Support From New Jersey Rich, Poll Shows

Support for Governor Chris Christie’s proposed 10 percent income-tax cut is highest among wealthier New Jerseyans, a Quinnipiac University (78104MF) poll shows. Registered voters back the plan, 56 percent to 33 percent, according to the survey released today. Support rises with earnings from 49 percent among those in households making less than $30,000 a year to 60 percent from those exceeding $100,000. The first-term Republican proposed the rate rollback as part of his $32.1 billion fiscal 2013 budget. An analysis by Assembly Democrats showed that the wealthiest residents would gain the most. New Jersey had the third-highest per-capita income in the U.S., at $51,167 in 2010, trailing only Connecticut and Massachusetts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Read more: Bloomberg

2/29/12: N.J. Democrats propose property tax credit program to counter Christie's income tax credit

Democratic lawmakers will counter Gov. Chris Christie’s income tax cut proposal next month with a package that delivers financial relief for the state’s middle class through a new property tax credit program, according to people familiar with the proposal. But the public won’t get to see the critical details until Democrats settle an internal squabble over whether the package should include a special tax on millionaires, a measure that Christie has vetoed twice and vowed to do again. Polls show that the tax is popular, but its inclusion would likely jeopardizes the party’s effort to deliver tax relief to middle-class families, said the sources who are not authorized to speak publicly about the proposal.

Read more:

2/26/12: What Gov. Chris Christie's budget means for New Jersey

For 15 years, Democratic and Republican governors alike piled up debt and failed to make billions of dollars of contributions to the pension system. Just as the bills for those past failures are coming due, Gov. Chris Christie has proposed a 10 percent income tax cut and business tax cuts that will reduce state revenue by $2 billion by 2016.

Read more: Star Ledger

2/23/12: Christie proposes $32.1 billion N.J. budget with slight increases in spending

Armed with a rosy revenue projection, Gov. Christie proposed a $32.1 billion budget Tuesday that sprinkles additional funding throughout the state - including a modest increase for public schools and a 5.5 percent boost in direct aid to colleges and universities - while making a down payment on an income-tax cut.

Read more: Philadelphia Inquirer

2/22/12: Christie Betting on N.J. Rebound to Fund Tax Cuts, Pensions

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is betting on the sharpest revenue increase since 2007 to help finance his personal and business income-tax cuts and the biggest pension contribution in the state’s history. Christie, a 49-year-old first-term Republican, proposed a $32.1 billion spending plan which counts on tax revenue rising the most since the longest recession since World War II began in 2007. The budget, which is $2.4 billion more than the plan enacted last year, would cut taxes while more than doubling the pension payment to $1.1 billion.

Read more:  Bloomberg BusinessWeek

2/22/12: Gov. Christie's proposal would add more than $300M to N.J. education budget

Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday threw money behind his promise to support education in New Jersey, proposing in his budget address an increase of $108 million for higher education and a nearly $213 million more for K-12 school districts. Christie called higher education the "key to advancement" and proposed increasing both the amount the state provides for financial assistance to students and the funding it gives to colleges and universities.

Read more: Star Ledger

2/21/12: Christie’s $32.1 Billion Budget Counts on Rising Tax Revenue

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie proposed a $32.1 billion spending plan, the biggest in five years, that counts on tax revenue increasing the most since before the recession began. The budget, which is $2.4 billion more than the plan enacted last year, would reduce income and business taxes while making a $1.1 billion pension payment, the highest in state history. It would increase school aid by $213 million and cut funding for distressed cities.

Read more: Bloomberg

2/21/12: Heralding End of ‘Dark Times,’ Christie Offers Budget That Is Bigger and Cuts Taxes

After two years of enforcing austerity, Gov. Chris Christie argued on Tuesday that New Jersey could afford to have it all, presenting a budget he said would cut income taxes by 10 percent at the same time it gave money to schools, provided for the poor and met the state’s pension obligations.

Read more: New York Times

2/21/12: Highlights from Gov. Christie's proposed 2012-13 budget

Gov. Chris Christie proposed a budget today that relies on robust revenue growth to deliver about $2 billion in increased spending in several areas, including higher education and aid to local schools.

Read more: Star Ledger

Budget News and Information: Previous Budget Cycles


6/3/11: Democrats convene on N.J. budget priorities

Senate Democrats wrapped up a 90-minute private session Thursday on the proposed state budget without identifying any of the funding priorities they'll pursue in deliberations with Republican Gov. Christie. Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) described the discussion as "free-flowing" and said it focused on which fiscal issues Democrats wanted to embrace in the talks. A balanced budget must be adopted this month.

Read more: Philadelphia Inquirer

5/26/11: Budget gaps, $500M tab among looming obstacles for N.J. lawmakers after Supreme Court ruling

With six weeks left to crank out a budget and a $500 million bill from the state Supreme Court for the state’s poor school districts, lawmakers are setting out on a possible collision course over state spending. As the governor watches from the sidelines, at stake are not only school funds but property tax rebates, a pension payment, money for women’s health care and a myriad of state-financed programs and agencies.

Read more: Star Ledger

5/25/11: Full funding for Abbotts ordered

A Supreme Court ruling Tuesday set up a state budget confrontation between a Republican governor who vows not to raise taxes and a Democratic-controlled state Legislature seeking to funnel more money to local schools. It presents the state with a much smaller bill -- estimated to be $500 million -- than it would have if the court had ordered New Jersey to provide full state aid, some $1.75 billion more, to all school districts. But the decision also marks a rebuke for Gov. Chris Christie, who has criticized the court over the school funding issue.

Read more: Cherry Hill Courier Post

5/19/11: Gov. Christie claims credit for tax windfall, but others disagree

Gov. Chris Christie took credit Wednesday for an unexpected surge in state revenue, although an independent expert and the state treasurer attributed the windfall to rising incomes among the state’s wealthier taxpayers. The governor also told a town hall meeting in Monroe Township, Middlesex County, that he planned to alter how state aid to public schools is distributed next year because the current formula "is, in my mind, ridiculous."

Read more:  Star Ledger

4/11/11: N.J. public university officials make case for more funding in effort to prevent large tuition hikes

The state’s four-year public colleges and universities expect to hold tuition increases below 10 percent next fall if Gov. Chris Christie’s budget proposal passes, higher education officials said today. More than a dozen college presidents and education leaders appeared before the state Senate budget committee in Trenton to plea for more money after years of steady decreases. This year’s budget calls for $714 million in operating aid for the colleges, about the same as last year.

Read more: Star Ledger

4/6/11: N.J. Democratic lawmakers urge health officials to provide details on Christie's Medicaid overhaul plan

Democratic lawmakers warned state health officials Tuesday to provide specific details of the governor’s plan to overhaul Medicaid or it won’t be considered as part of the state budget. The threats came as the state’s health and human services commissioners spoke before the Assembly Budget Committee. Lawmakers and advocates for the poor were hoping to hear the most detailed explanation of Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to save $300 million from overhauling Medicaid since he first introduced the idea in his budget address February.

Read more: Star Ledger

3/29/11: New Jersey budget official predicts growth in state revenue

State revenue should grow by $1.1 billion in the fiscal year that starts in July, despite high unemployment and a slow economic recovery. That was the assessment of David Rosen, budget and finance officer of the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services, in testimony Monday to the Senate budget panel on Gov. Christie's $29.4 billion spending plan. Rosen's financial overview was similar to that of the executive branch, which has projected revenue will grow $1.2 billion.

Read more: Philadelphia Inquirer

3/29/11: N.J. Treasurer says Gov. Christie will veto millionaires tax

State Treasurer Andrew P. Sidamon-Eristoff told the Democrats who control the Legislature Tuesday not to hold their breaths waiting for Gov. Chris Christie to approve a millionaires tax to help finance the proposed $29.4 billion 2011-12 state budget and provide additional property tax breaks. “I can assure you that this governor will not sign a budget that increases taxes,” Sidamon-Eristoff told the Assembly Budget Committee in Trenton. “To do so would break faith with the people.— already among the most highly taxed in the nation — and undermine New Jersey’s economic competitiveness and job creation.

Read more: New Jersey NewsRoom

3/24/11: Christie's school-cutting plan hits roadblock

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie defended his $1 billion spending cut for the state's public schools Wednesday, one day after a state court ruled the cut violated the state's school funding law. Judge Peter Doyne ruled that the reductions effectively makes it impossible for the state to meet its legal requirement to provide a "thorough and efficient" eduction and hurts low-income districts more than others, according to The ruling came after a local advocacy group filed a lawsuit challenging Christie's move.

Read more: Stateline

3/23/11: Christie says he's confident about convincing N.J. Supreme Court the state can't afford full aid for schools

Gov. Chris Christie said today he is confident his administration will be able to convince the state Supreme Court it doesn’t have the money to fully fund the state’s school-funding law. "My view is we’re going to win in the Supreme Court," Christie said after a news conference on police regionalization in Camden County. "The state government can’t print money."
The governor was responding to a judge’s ruling Tuesday that said the state is in violation of the school funding law, and the shortfall has caused some schools to fall short of the state constitution’s guarantee of a "thorough and efficient" education for all students.

Read more: Star Ledger

3/16/11: N.J. teachers, labor leaders, parents argue for more education funding at Assembly budget hearing

Teachers, labor leaders and parents urged lawmakers to boost education funding today, saying without additional money the state’s public schools and colleges will have to continue to lay off teachers and increase class sizes.

Read more: Star-Ledger

3/15/11: N.J. social service, cultural groups ask lawmakers to restore budget cuts proposed by Christie

Dozens of representatives from social service and cultural organizations from across the state called on lawmakers today to restore the budget cuts proposed by Gov. Chris Christie last month. The plea came during the second hearing by the state Senate Budget Committee on Gov. Chris Christie’s $29.4 billion spending proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1. 

Read more: Star Ledger

3/11/11: N.J. Gov. Christie, public workers union fight over changes in employee health benefits

Gov. Chris Christie and the state’s public employee unions can’t agree on much, even history. Christie is pushing to bypass the bargaining table and head straight to the Legislature to force state employees to pay 30 percent of their health care costs, arguing that unions took the same routes when seeking increases in the past. The unions counter that the only increases they’ve ever received by the Legislature were for pensions, which by law can’t be negotiated. Legislating health benefits will eliminate their ability to collectively bargain over them again, the unions argue.

Read more: Star-Ledger

3/10/11: N.J. League of Municipalities president urges legislators to provide more aid

Buena Vista Mayor Chuck Chiarello, president of the League of Municipalities, told the Assembly Budget Committee Tuesday giving property taxpayers as much financial relief as possible in the proposed $29.4 billion 2011-12 state budget should be part of Gov. Chris Christie’s “New Normal” government spending program.

Read more:

3/8/11: N.J. advocates place focus on Medicaid cuts, urge funding restorations at budget hearing

Advocates for the poor and disabled Monday called on lawmakers to restore funding to several critical programs slated to be cut in Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed $29.4 billion budget.

Read more: Star-Ledger

3/5/11: Fact-checking Gov. Christie's favorite budget boasts

Gov. Chris Christie likes to use numbers — a lot of them — to explain to people the enormity of the state's fiscal crisis. But like with many things, context can change the meaning. Here's a fact check of some of Christie's favorite figures.

Read more: Associated Press  

3/5/11: Projected 8.9 percent increase in N.J. pension bills underscores need for reform, treasurer says

Local governments and school districts will see their pension bills climb by 8.9 percent next year, according to figures released Friday by the state Department of Treasury.

Read more: Star Ledger

2/25/2011: NJ Gov Says Pension System Could Go Broke by 2020

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says that if changes aren't made to the state pension system it will go broke by 2020. Christie's $29.4 billion budget proposal calls for the Democratic-controlled Legislature to enact major changes to public employees' pension and health benefits.

Read More: Bloomberg

2/25/2011: Gov. Christie delivers budget address to N.J. Legislature

Gov. Chris Christie today proposed a $29.4 billion state budget that includes business tax cuts, school spending boosts and increases in property tax relief.  Direct property tax relief counts for $1.03 billion in Christie's proposal, including a nearly $190 million boost in credits.

Read More:  The Star Ledger