N.J. budget hearings ramp up this week

The Legislature's review of Gov. Christie's budget picks up steam Wednesday and Thursday when the Assembly and Senate budget committees hold hearings with Treasurer Andrew Eristoff and the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services.

The hearings will focus on the revenue estimates that went into building Christie's budget, which could be an important piece of the debate. If tax collections turn out better than Christie predicts, fewer spending cuts would be needed. If, on the other hand, the revenue is coming in slower than expected, even more reductions would be called for. (Tax increases could also make up that gap, but Christie has strongly said he is against further tax hikes).

So far in the current budget year, the revenue picture is better than Christie has projected. If that situation holds up, there would be more money in state coffers on July 1, the start of the next fiscal year, potentially easing the need for some budget cuts. Democrats who lead the two committees will have their chance to question Eristoff on these scenarios, and compare the administration's figures to estimates from OLS, which has not yet released its predictions.

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