New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last week updated financial information presented in bond documents, including an estimated $1.52 billion current-year state budget deficit and the limited status of New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority funds.
The administration anticipates $655 million of budget savings and revenue enhancements will help offset a $2.17 billion combined funding shortfall and additional spending needs to give the state a fiscal 2010 deficit of $1.52 billion. Fiscal 2010 ends June 30.
“The state intends to pursue aggressive use of the executive branch’s statutory powers to reduce state expenditures to address the remaining budget shortfall and to achieve an ending fund balance for fiscal year 2010 of approximately $500 million as reflected in the fiscal year 2010 appropriations act,” according to a news release announcing the supplemental budget information.
Lack of funding for new road and bridge improvements may come sooner than expected. The Transportation Trust Fund receives $895 million each year. In fiscal 2010, the trust had $42.9 million of funds available for pay-as-you-go financing after paying down 852.1 million of debt service costs, according to the press release.
In fiscal 2011, which begins July 1, “it is projected that substantially all appropriated funds that are currently provided to the TTFA will be needed to pay debt service on outstanding debt, further limiting the ability of the TTFA to fund transportation projects under the current appropriation level.”
Previously, officials expected the authority to run out of funds for new projects beginning in fiscal 2012.
In other news, Christie last week nominated Lori Grifa as commissioner for the Department of Community Affairs. The state’s Local Finance Board, which weighs in on municipal borrowing, is part of the DCA. Grifa most recently worked in Wolff & Samson’s government and regulatory affairs group. From 2002 through 2003 she was chief of staff to former Attorney General David Sampson, who headed Christie’s transition team.
The governor last week also nominated Marc Larkins as executive director of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority. Larkins is the assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey. The authority has $3.9 billion of bonding capacity that lawmakers approved in July 2008.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will weigh in on the nominations.