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Highlights of Christie's proposed NJ budget

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 26, 2013 at 5:40 pm •  Published: February 26, 2013
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Highlights of the New Jersey state budget Republican Gov. Chris Christie proposed Tuesday for the year starting July 1:

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TOTAL SPENDING: $32.9 billion, up by $754 million but still almost $70 million less than the state government spent in the 2007-08 budget year.

PROJECTED REVENUE GROWTH: Nearly 5 percent; Christie built the current-year budget on a growth projection of more than 7 percent, which has since been adjusted downward. Treasurer expects state to end budget year June 30 with $400 million shortfall.

PROPERTY TAX REBATES: To cover shortfall, property tax rebates expected in May will be deferred until August.

MEDICAID: Christie decides state will expand Medicaid to more low-income adults as part of President Barack Obama's health insurance overhaul, joining seven other GOP governors. Would take effect Jan. 1, 2014, if Legislature goes along. Christie projects 104,000 of estimated 1.3 million uninsured will be added to the rolls; some groups say number could be much higher. With the expansion, an adult without children earning up to $15,415 could be added to Medicaid, up from the previous earnings ceiling of $2,800.

EDUCATION: Funding for school districts would rise modestly, by $97 million, to nearly $9 billion. No districts will see state cuts. The aid would be a new high for state funding for public schools. In Christie's first budget three years ago, funding was cut.

SCHOOL CHOICE: Proposes $2 million be spent for scholarships up to $10,000 so that 200 low-income students in struggling schools could attend public schools in other districts or private schools. Billed as a pilot program, it's a scaled-back version of a scholarship program that lawmakers have long rejected.

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