How Accurate are NJ’s Revenue Predictions?
The non-partisan Office of Legislative Services and the State Treasurer both predict the state will have more in revenue next fiscal year than Gov. Chris Christie projected in his budget address. That was welcome news to lawmakers on the Senate and Assembly budget committees, but the new revenue forecasts came with a caveat: they will be inaccurate.
"For Fiscal Year 2016, OLS is estimating $140 million more than the governor's budget message," said David Rosen, OLS legislative budget and finance officer. "Our revenue forecast is going to be wrong. All revenue forecasts are wrong. $140 million is our best assessment of the amount that's going to be in there and it's not going to be that. It's going to be more than that or less than that."
State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff said the Christie Administration is now estimating a net increase of $7 million next fiscal year compared to the governor's budget message. He was aware that Rosen's projections were more optimistic.
"OLS is more confident that extraordinary, though welcome, capital gains received in 2014 will recur in 2015, while Treasury is taking a more restrained view," Sidamon-Eristoff said.
The FY 2016 budget must be signed and balanced by midnight on June 30. Details are in the process of being hashed out. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo asked Rosen if he was confident that his estimate of $140 million extra should be included in the spending plan.
"Stating it differently, I think it would be perfectly responsible to use that number in the budget if that's the question you're asking me," Rosen responded.