Gov.-elect Christopher J. Christie's transition team is eyeing budget cuts of up to 25 percent as it grapples with a slew of fiscal problems, including a New Jersey state deficit that could exceed $8 billion.

In a memo sent today, Corzine cabinet members were asked to draw up plans for spending cuts of 15, 20 and 25 percent. The suggested cuts, which would provide ideas for the budget Christie will propose next year, would be on top of $839 million in reductions Gov. Corzine outlined today to deal with shortfalls in the state's current fiscal plan.

The size of Christie's potential reductions reflect a belief by transition team leaders that New Jersey's financial problems are so severe that steps once considered drastic may have to become fair game.

The administration memo sent to cabinet leaders today asked them to plan for budget cuts with an eye toward "the elimination of ineffective programs." The note came from Corzine's Treasury department, but was sent at the request of Christie's team.

"The current situation requires the State to review its operations, to determine which functions should continue and which no longer are necessary," the memo said.

Previous administrations have issued similar memos during the budget-planning process. In late 2008, for example, Corzine sought reductions of up to 20 percent from his departments.

Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 609-989-9016 or jtamari@phillynews.com.