The state is likely to rebound somewhat, Rosen said, in part because of rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy. But he would not be surprised if the state finished the fiscal year about where it is now, $700 million shy of the administration's target, Rosen said.
"The state would need a spectacular revenue acceleration to hit the executive's budget targets," Rosen testified. "Where revenues have grown at 0.2 percent for the first five months, they would need to grow by 11.9 percent over the remaining seven months."
The Christie administration immediately questioned Rosen's analysis.
"David Rosen has been persistently negative and persistently wrong about the state's revenues," spokesman Michael Drewniak said.
"There are far too many unknowns as our state begins to recover [from Sandy] to jump to any conclusions that the sky is tumbling down on us or engage the Democrats' desire in making this a partisan game," he said.
The storm has so far affected revenue only minimally, according to Rosen. Casino revenue, already lackluster, missed its November target by $33 million, after Sandy badly damaged the Shore.
Taxes and fees form the underpinnings of New Jersey's $31.7 billion budget, which is required to remain in balance.
The gloomy revenue numbers could doom Christie's 10 percent tax cut, which Democrats agreed to reexamine this month based on the state's fiscal condition. Democrats said they would agree to release $183 million to fund the first phase of the cut only if revenue collections matched the administration's targets of more than 7 percent growth.
Asked Thursday about the tax-cut plan, Sen. Paul Sarlo (D., Bergen), the Budget Committee chairman, said: "Does the math work for you? I don't see where the math works."
State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff did not attend the session but has been offered three other dates to address the panel, Sarlo said.
"We will need from Treasury sooner rather than later a plan to rebalance this budget," Sarlo said.
Christie is unlikely to agree to a tax increase, and Sarlo said forgoing the annual payment into the pension system was not an option. For years the state opted out of its contribution, resulting in a multibillion-dollar unfunded liability. It became bound to make the payment when a law was enacted forcing higher contributions by government workers.