Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Budget Nitpick

One thing that really bothers me about this budget -- I find that I can't trust any of the numbers found therein. Let me share one example:

The compensation of members of the Legislature is $49,000 per year (C52:10A--1). The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the General Assembly, by virtue of their offices, receive an additional allowance equal to one--third of their compensation.

This should be a pretty straightforward piece of the budget, as the law spells out exactly what the budget should be. If you do the quick math, you find that 40 and one third times $49,000 is $1,976,333.33. The budget plans to spend $1,990,000 (see page D-3), or nearly $14,000 more than the law allows.

Fourteen thousand dollars may not sound like a lot, but lets take a hypothetical extension of this budgeting and see where it leads. $13,667 (the actual overrun) out of $1.99 million is 0.69%. The total spending plan for the entire state is $30.9 billion. If 0.69% of the $30.9 billion total is in excess of the requirements (like the Senators' salary budget), than that would work out to $211.75 million dollars of, as Bob calls it, slippage.

Can we afford to lose more than $211 million in slippage?

Tags: Jersey, Taxes