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Will Lower Revenues Mean Fewer Pet Projects for Lawmakers?

Updated: Jul 4

June 5, 2023 |

Photo Credit: José Augusto Camargo (from Pixabay)

After taking the last several months to pore over a $53 billion budget put forward by Gov. Phil Murphy, lawmakers will soon be putting their own imprint on the state’s next annual spending plan.

This year, the task of drafting the annual appropriations bill comes as many lawmakers are preparing to run for reelection in the fall and just weeks after the Murphy administration slashed the revenue forecast for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

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NJ SEED: In years where there is a substantial budget surplus (even in years when there isn’t) these last few weeks before July 1st, when a balanced budget must be adopted, are busy ones. This is the time when legislators seek to fund pet projects by adding them to the budget. Traditionally known as Christmas Tree items, these funds substantially go to legislators of the majority party – especially in a legislative election year. With lowered revenue projections, should we anticipate restraint this year?

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