- Associated Press - Monday, May 19, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Gov. Chris Christie is expected to announce the administration’s proposals for closing an $800 million budget shortage this week, possibly before the state treasurer appears before the Assembly Budget Committee on Wednesday.

Christie could propose closing the gap through a combination of executive actions and proposals that need legislative approval. But with less than six weeks to go in the fiscal year, there are few pots of money that haven’t been spent.

Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff said school aid, student and higher education assistance and employee benefits are all on the table. Nursing homes and hospitals could also be hit.

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said Monday the Legislature is waiting to hear from the administration on how it intends to close the gap.

Prieto said he also is concerned that Christie’s proposed budget for 2015 contains just over $300 million in surplus, which is less than 1 percent of the total.

The administration announced it was missing revenue targets for the current fiscal year after seeing April tax returns.

Three Wall Street bond rating agencies recently downgraded New Jersey’s credit rating, making it more expensive for the state to borrow money.

The latest agency to do so, Moody’s, said the downgrade is because of revenue shortfalls and reliance on one-time budget solutions that don’t fix the state’s finances in the long-term.

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