As legislative budget and finance officer in the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services, Haines is one of the top officials in the Legislature’s non-partisan office tasked with gauging the price tag of legislation passing through the statehouse halls in Trenton. The costs to the state could range from just a few thousand to tens of millions of dollars a year. And it comes from business and residential taxpayers via existing or new taxes, or a variety of new fees.
And so OLS assessments provide critical data to lawmakers on how proceed on legislation, despite the agency lacking key tax numbers available to the state treasury.
As budget talks pick up over the course of the summer – for a spending plan that will include a revenue shortfall measured in billions of dollars – Haines will be one of the key officials offering number-crunching and analyses sought by elected officials and policymakers.
His numbers, and those from State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio within the Murphy administration, will offer the clearest picture of just how much money the state has, and just how much has disappeared amid the COVID-19 global pandemic and historic economic recession.