Gov. Chris Christie today outlined his proposed $32.9 billion budget, which calls for an expansion of the Medicaid rolls, historic school aid levels and a full contribution to the state’s pension program.
The budget calls for revenues of $32.8 billion, a 4.9 percent increase over the adjusted Fiscal Year 2013 revenues and leaves the state with $300 million surplus. State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff called the projection “conservative.” That number includes $1.073 billion – 3 percent of the total – in non-recurring revenue.
Included in the plan is a $1.675 billion pension contribution – the full amount called for under the pension overhaul signed by Christie in 2011. The budget also calls for more than $8.6 billion in school aid, a $97 million bump over the current budget.
Municipal aid will remain flat and according to Sidamon-Eristoff no town’s aid will be cut from last year.
Christie’s decision to expand the state’s Medicaid program is expected to both help cover 300,000 uninsured New Jersey residents and also shore up $227 million in the FY 2014 budget. The move makes the Garden State’s Republican governor the eighth GOP executive in the country to align himself on the issue with President Barack Obama. The expansion is part of the president’s healthcare reform.
Christie, who has refused to participate in key components of the federal health care reform, first announced his decision to expand the Medicaid program during his budget address. According to reports, seven Republican governors have opted not to accept Medicaid expansion, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Florida Gov. Rich Scott.
“The savings come in the fact that the federal government will now be providing a higher level of reimbursements,” Sidamon-Eristoff told reporters during a budget briefing.
The budget includes no additional taxes and no planned layoffs, though it maintains the Earned Income Tax credit at 20 percent of the federal credit. It also delays by three months the state's Homestead tax credit, worth about $400 million.
Despite the governor's push two years ago for more pay as you go transportation funding, this budget relies entirely on borrowing to pay for transportation funding.
Notably absent from the plan is the continued call for an income tax cut, which was the headline of last year's budget address. Christie and the Democrat-controlled legislature sparred over the cuts for months until Super Storm Sandy struck the state in October, all but ending the talk.
Sidamon-Eristoff said the state expects the Fiscal year 2013 revenue shortfall to hit $407 million, about 1.3 percent below the governor’s projection.
Tepid fundraising, underperforming candidates and a lousy party brand are threatening to deprive House Republicans of the sweeping 2014 gains that some top party officials have been predicting this year, according to Politicker alum Alex Isenstadt, now of Politico.Read More >
Campaign season now under way in Bergen County Politics is practiced year-round in Bergen County, and street-level campaigning has been going on quietly all summer. But both Republicans and Democrats say the Rutherford Street Fair on Labor Day signals a more intense phase of electioneering. (Ensslin/The Bergen Record) http://www.northjersey.com/news/campaign-season-now-under-way-in-bergen-county-1.1079080 ...
By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students. The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >
"Governor Christie ripped President Obama this summer for failing to carve out some time during a Texas fundraising swing to visit the Mexican border, where the unprecedented flood of immigrant children from Central America had reached a crisis point. ...Yet Christie is not squeezing in a tour of the troubled border during his own three-day trade and diplomatic mission to Mexico, which is set to begin on Wednesday. The governor is planning a series of meetings with Mexican officials, including President Enrique Peña Nieto and the finance and energy ministers." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
Press releases are submitted by PolitickerNJ users, not by staff. They do not represent the viewpoint of PolitickerNJ.com.