June 8, 2009: New Jersey Budget Websites

By the end of this month New Jersey must pass a budget for the next fiscal year which starts July 1 and ends June 30, 2010. In today’s economy, this is a great challenge.

Revenues from the state’s income, sales and corporate business taxes have declined, resulting in program cuts in this year’s budget and even more reductions in next year’s proposed budget.

The Governor introduced his budget in March, and the Legislature has heard from the public and department commissioners. Negotiations between the Governor and Legislative leadership are taking place. The state’s priorities are now being set for next year- programs that lose funding in this budget will function at diminished capacity next year. Few programs will prosper.

To learn more about how the state spends its money check out the Budget in Brief – a condensed narrative of what is in the proposed budget.

More information is available on each individual state department on the Legislature’s website.

Changes to the Governor’s proposed budget also are on the Legislature’s website. In the past these changes were made without formality so it was often difficult to understand how changes came about or who directed them. Recently the process has been formalized through a resolution process. To know what programs might gain or lose in this year’s budget see the budget resolution website.

Learning the budget process and understanding how the state raises and spends its money is important. Within 22 days the Legislature and the Governor must agree on what the state’s priorities are and how to fund them over the next 12 months. The documents above will increase your understanding of the budget so that you can take the steps needed to influence the debate.