New Jersey revenue projections
While it’s great to hear that New Jersey tax revenues seem to have bottomed out and are beginning to climb, the state remains stuck in a very deep hole.
The Office of Legislative Services projects that revenues will approach $29.9 billion next year, an increase of $1.17billion over its current year estimates. However, even with that growth, the state’s revenue collections would still be $3.4 billion less than was collected in FY2008, the year prior to the recession. Almost all of the increase is driven by higher income tax collections fueled by the rebound on Wall Street. Revenues from sales, corporate business and other taxes are still below estimates.
The state must choose to invest these revenues wisely, using the money to restore the devastating cuts made to services and to pay into the state pension system. The money should not be used, as the governor suggested was his goal during his budget address in February, to fuel $2.5 billion in corporate tax breaks over the next five years. He’s already used $1 billion in future tax revenues to subsidize corporations and business since taking office. Those efforts have contributed to the state’s lackluster corporate tax revenue collections and have failed to create quality jobs. It’s time to abandon old, tired trickle down economic theory and embrace the reality that creating a strong, vibrant economy and attracting good, solid middle class jobs requires great schools, safe streets and the high quality of living New Jersey attained before the recession.
While the increase in revenue is welcome news, New Jersey still has far to go before it is made whole again.