May 18, 2012
This week the Christie administration and the Office of Legislative Services both released revenue numbers for the crucial month of April ... and they weren't pretty.
With a budget shortfall that may now reach $1 billion, New Jersey's elected officials need to put the brakes on all the tax cut talk and focus on truly restoring the state's economic health. It's not enough to proclaim a "Jersey Comeback" - real work clearly still has to be done to get New Jersey's fiscal house back in order.
NJPP has been front and center as more and more New Jerseyans question whether the state can really afford to cut taxes right now. Some highlights from the week:
- Budget analyst David Rousseau wrote that its time to "adopt a responsible FY 2013 budget free of gimmicks and tax cuts," and he told NJ Today that any tax cuts need to wait until at least next year, if not longer.
- While the Christie administration reacted to the latest numbers by urging people not to read too much into one month and noting that "we still have two months," Rousseau wrote that it's "beyond reality" that revenues could rebound enough to eliminate a shortfall.
- "The revenue numbers document what we've been saying all along: This is no time to be cutting taxes," NJPP president Gordon MacInnes said in a statement widely picked up in the press. "New Jersey already has the third-lowest credit rating in the country, greatly increasing our borrowing costs. Our leaders should concentrate first on putting the state's fiscal house in order, not on politically appealing, but reckless, proposals to cut taxes. This is exactly how we got into this mess."
On Monday, NJPP will join the other members of The Anti-Poverty Network of NJ for the coalition's Poverty Summit. The summit - which runs from 8 am to 12:30 pm at Trenton's War Memorial - will include reports on the current realities of poverty and income insecurity in New Jersey, with a special focus on employment, housing and hunger.
NJPP senior policy analyst Raymond Castro will give remarks on employment, based on the white paper the Anti-Poverty Network developed: "A Call to Invest in the People of New Jersey."