State treasurer will update New Jersey budget plan

May 13, 2008 5:29:28 AM PDT
More budget pain will be detailed Tuesday by the state treasurer.

Treasurer David Rousseau is to meet today with the Senate budget committee to provide revised tax collection estimates.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine and the administration have declined to comment, but Senate Budget Chairwoman Barbara Buono said legislators expect revenues for the next fiscal year to be about $200 million less than what had been estimated.

That could mean more budget cuts atop the $2.7 billion already proposed by Corzine in his $33 billion budget plan.

"This is already a tough budget," Corzine said Monday.

Corzine has proposed less state funding for property tax rebates, municipalities, hospitals, state colleges and universities and nursing homes.

He's also proposed increased fees for a senior citizen drug program, new co-payments for some Medicaid services and no cost-of-living increase for nonprofits that care for the disabled and abused, among others.

The budget proposal also calls for eliminating the state commerce and personnel departments and cutting 3,000 jobs from state government though layoffs and early retirement incentives.

Corzine proposed closing nine state parks and eliminating the agriculture departments, but has since said he's hopeful those cuts won't happen, though some park services may be axed.

Legislators have questioned many of the cuts but haven't yet unveiled alternatives, with Corzine vowing not to increase state spending beyond what the state collects in taxes and other revenues.

"We have a responsibility, both constitutionally and, I believe, actually a moral responsibility, to spend no more than what we take in," Corzine said.

Corzine and legislators must agree to a new budget plan by July 1.

The state is expected to finish out this fiscal year without trouble.

Buono said the state is expected to collect $600 million more than what was initially estimated for the fiscal year that ends June 30.