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Office of Management and Budget

Understanding the Budget


The State of New Jersey was one of the original thirteen colonies and was the third state to ratify the United States Constitution in 1787. New Jersey's governmental structure is similar to the federal model, with three separate branches of government: a Legislative Branch, a Judicial Branch, and an Executive Branch. The original State Constitution was adopted on July 2, 1776, and was subsequently superseded in 1877 and 1947. The Constitution of the State requires a balanced budget and restricts State long-term borrowing to 1% of total appropriations, unless higher amounts are specifically approved by voters at a general election. Short-term borrowing to cover cash flow needs, provided such borrowing is repaid within the same fiscal year, is not prohibited by the Constitution and is authorized in the Annual Appropriations Act.

Helpful Information in the Governor's Budget

The information outlined below is designed to ease the reader's ability to navigate this document. Besides providing a context for key budget decisions, these individual sections are designed to quickly pinpoint desired information, clarify how major services are organized, and improve the transparency of the document.

Budget Guide

This section is designed to assist readers with interpreting and understanding the content of the Governor's annual budget proposal. Included are brief descriptions of the major sections of the Governor's Budget, a guide to reading the financial tables included in the budget summaries, and a brief description of New Jersey's budget process. Individual displays of the Executive Branch departments can be found in the Department and Branch Recommendations section of the full document.

Organization of New Jersey State Government - This organization chart displays the State's three branches of government and details the departments within the Executive Branch. Clicking on an individual department listed on the chart will link the reader to a more detailed organization chart for that specific department, and will include information on any "in-but-not of" agencies that may be housed within the department.

The State Budget Process - This section describes the timetable and the steps that State departments, the Governor's Office, and the Legislature take in shaping the State Budget. It includes a chart that summarizes the budget cycle.

How the Budget Is Organized - This section describes the major sections of the Governor's Budget. It is designed to help the reader navigate the document and quickly find any information that the reader needs.

State Financial Policies - This section outlines the key financial policies that guide the compilation of the Governor's Budget.

Reading the Budget Tables - This section provides the reader with an annotated guide in how to read and interpret the budget tables for statewide programs and individual departments. It is designed as a guide for the first-time reader, to help him or her better understand the data which is presented in the Governor's Budget.

Glossary - The State Budget often includes acronyms. The Glossary section includes a definition of the more significant acronyms.

Description of Funds - This section provides details about the State's various funds. Included are special revenue funds, which raise revenue from specific sources and are legally restricted to be used only for specified purposes; capital project funds, which used for the acquisition or construction of major capital facilities; and private purpose trust funds, which are the assets held by the State in its trustee capacity for individuals or other organizations.

State Statistics  - This section includes several charts that provide demographic information on projected population growth, dependency ratio projections for senior citizens and youth, and higher education attainment.

Budget Index

Typically, readers who are interested in information on a particular program or organization turn to the index at the back of the Governor's Budget. The index includes entries for:

  • All special revenue funds, trust funds, and capital project funds, including their analogous appropriations and budget language;
  • All accounts valued at $3 million or more;
  • Index titles that place the most likely object of a reader's search at the front (e.g., "Pharmacy Services, Consulting");
  • Programs mentioned in previous budgets but not in the index, as well as common program terms that differ from the title of corresponding appropriations (e.g., Charity Care)
Workforce Chart

The workforce chart displayed in the Appendix of the Governor's Budget has been modified to include a more relevant view of position data including positions data at the start of the current Administration, current year employee counts, and recommended funded levels. These changes provide the reader with a more comprehensive presentation as well as a better understanding of the trends in the numbers of positions funded in the State Budget.

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA)

New Jersey is one of only five states to receive The Government Finance Officers Association's (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. New Jersey has been recognized by GFOA every year since fiscal year 1992

Last Updated: Tuesday, 02/22/22