(TRENTON) – Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald on Tuesday said Gov. Chris Christie’s administration needs to quickly explain what it will do to fix a $400 million hole that has already opened in the administration’s new budget.
Greenwald said the hole stems from extra federal aid for Medicaid that the Christie administration expected to receive.
The bill to provide that money has succumbed to a Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate.
“A gaping hole like this just two weeks into the new fiscal year raises the specter to taxpayers of even more Christie tax and fee hikes, and that is a great concern to working class residents,” Greenwald said. “We need answers and we need them fast on how the administration plans to close this gap and whether they will do so by forcing even more Christie tax and fee hikes on average New Jerseyans.”
Greenwald said the committee needs to know, among other things, what Christie has done to seek the Medicaid funding.
“We know Gov. Christie has made televised speeches and visited with the Queen of England,” Greenwald said. “What we don’t know is what he’s done to convince his Republican allies in the U.S. Senate to give up their plan to keep this money from benefiting New Jersey taxpayers.”
Greenwald said other revenue concerns include:
· $50 million in privatization savings that have yet to be properly vetted.
· $80 million in gift card escheats that could not be explained by Republican bill sponsors.
· $70 million in supposed tax collection enforcement used to replace Christie’s plan to eliminate the Bergen Blue Laws and his plan to hike corporate filing fees.
· $2 million from sports license plates that could not be explained by the Republican bill sponsor.
· An indeterminate amount of lost sales tax revenue by suspending corporate tax credits for high tech, digital and film and television production.
Greenwald also noted that nonpartisan legislative revenue estimates for this fiscal year are about $250 million below those contained in the Christie budget.
“This is serious worry,” Greenwald said. “Gov. Christie has already raised taxes on average New Jerseyans by $1 billion, and there’s no reason to think he won’t seek to raise them again to fix his irresponsible budget. We need answers.”
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