N.J. tax collections fall 5M short for first half of 2011-12 fiscal year | Economy | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.

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N.J. tax collections fall $325M short for first half of 2011-12 fiscal year

sidamoneristoff_optTreasurer insists shortfall will not hinder state budget priorities

BY TOM HESTER SR.
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

The state government’s tax revenue collections have fallen 3.2 percent -- or $325 million -- short of expectations -- for the first six months of the 2011-12 fiscal year, according to figures released by the state Treasury Department Wednesday.

The Christie administration expected to collect $10.2 billion but tax collections have netted $9.8 billion

And for the month of December, revenue collections fell 7.4 percent. The administration expected $2.4 billion and collected $2.2 billion, a $178 million shortfall.

Income tax collections alone fell 14.9 percent short of expectations with the state taking in $890,019, a $156,081 shortfall.

Revenue collections are a major indicator of a state’s economic health.

With Gov. Chris Christie visiting TV and radio stations to announce what he sees as New Jersey’s economic comback, Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff is attempting to see the glass half full, pointing out that the $9.8 billion the state has collected is $304.9 million more than it took in for the first six months of the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Sidamon-Eristoff said the $304.9 million increase has allowed the state to manage its finances without diverting from the key priorities that Christie’s budget laid out almost a year ago.

“New Jersey’s progress toward recovery made the first six months of the fiscal year brighter than the first half of last year,” Sidamon-Eristoff said. “Disciplined, hands-on management of the budget, from conception to passage and implementation, has and will continue to pay big dividends for taxpayers.”

Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) disagrees with Sidamon-Eristoff’s upbeat outlook.

“The so-called ‘New Jersey Comeback’ appears to have very been short-lived,” Prieto said. “It’s entirely missing from this fiscal year’s revenue figures.

“These new numbers are cause for concern, not only for the state budget and the key services it funds, but for the Christie administration’s economic policies that have failed to reinvigorate our economy,” the Assemblyman added. “It’s time to get past political theater and put the focus on the reality of New Jersey’s sagging economy and our 9.1 percent unemployment rate. Sound bites won’t solve these problems.”

Income tax collections totaled $4.13 billion in the first half, or 3.8 percent compared to the first six months of 2010-11. The state collected $3.3 billion in sales taxes, 3.6 percent more than in the year-earlier period.

State Chief Economist Charles Steindel argues that December income tax collections were soft for many states and the federal government.

“Revenue for the first half of this fiscal year turned out to be within a few percentage points of the forecasts made by Treasury’s Office of Revenue and Economic Analysis,” Steindel said. “Key indicators do not now suggest that a dramatic change in outlook is warranted for the rest of the fiscal year.”

 

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