A new report paints a bleak picture of state debt. The annual debt report, approved today by a legislative commission on budgeting and planning, shows that state debt has reached $33.9 billion, the third highest in the nation. Last year, the debt was $31.9 billion. Gov.-elect Chris Christie called the state’s fiscal situation “awful” when asked about indebtedness this week. He assumes office in January with a budget deficit projected at $8 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Two Republicans on the commission, Sen. Steve Oroho (R-Sussex) and Assemblyman David Wolfe (R-Ocean), did not approve the report. They say it underestimates pension fund and health care obligations and omits $2 billion in unemployment funds owed to the federal government.
A report earlier this week said that state debt would be $51 billion with pension and health care obligations included. AP