TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – New Jersey is off to a poor start to the new fiscal year.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney On The Story

The state Treasury Department reports tax collections for July were $18 million below the $322 million budgeted for the month.

That topped a Labor Department report Thursday that the unemployment rate hit a 35-year high. The poor job numbers could bode poorly for a budget that counts on income taxes for a third of its revenue.

The Legislature’s budget expert reports the shortfall could reach $542 million through June.

But end-of-year revenues are complicated to calculate and could be adjusted.

All of this may not be as bad as it sounds.

“I don’t think it’s too alarming for the basic citizen,” Dr. Jim Hughes, dean of the Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, told WCBS 880 reporter Levon Putney.

He said slow recoveries usually follow big crises like the one we had.

“We’re not going to bounce back sharply,” he said. “We’re still in that phase.”

Now as for the state’s unemployment, he said, “It’s a very very complex situation and we have disconnects between our data sources.”

Dr. Hughes said employer surveys say they have more jobs, while household employment surveys say there are more people out of work.

“And that’s certainly not good for revenues,” he said.

He said it’s also not good for understanding since he says both surveys are usually more in line with the other.

The Christie administration has based its fiscal year 13 budget on robust revenue growth of 7 percent.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Buono says the administration violates its own rules by not releasing revenue figures every month.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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