Residents feel effects of NJ government shutdown

Laura Christensen
July 3, 2017

Christie, a Republican, shut down the state government at midnight Saturday in a feud with the Democrat-led Legislature over his wish to overhaul the state's largest health insurer.

"It's seems so hypocritical to me that Governor Christie orders a state government shutdown - which included Island Beach State Park - affecting the livelihoods of business along the northern barrier island and the Fourth of July weekend plans of thousands of folks", Wirth said. He faces staunch pushback from State Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D). Remaining open under the shutdown will be New Jersey Transit, state prisons, the state police, state hospitals and treatment centers as well as casinos, race tracks and the lottery.

While the gates were closed to prevent motor vehicles from entering the parking lot, this state park was full of visitors who had simply parked elsewhere and walked in through the open pedestrian entrance.

DMVs across the state were also closed and if progress isn't made, many will be at risk of not receiving permits or copies of either marriage or birth certificates.

New Jersey, Maine and IL are all facing at least partial government shutdowns after their legislatures failed to pass budgets.

Maine's Republican-controlled senate had already endorsed the budget with a 34-1 vote, but LePage vowed to veto any budget that increased the state's lodging tax without reducing the income tax, the Portland Press Herald reported.

"In his refusal to post the Horizon bill for a vote by his fellow elected Assembly members, he has impacted the state of New Jersey and it's residents unnecessarily", Christie said Saturday.

When Christie first announced the $300 million demand - which both he and his allies say is no longer the amount being sought - Horizon was willing to give about half that amount.

The last time that New Jersey experienced a government crisis was when the government was shut down in 2006 under the Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.

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The new governor will inherit the state's gaping public pension shortfall, which has contributed to 11 credit downgrades during Christie's tenure.

Also on Sunday, Democratic Senate President Steve, who's allied with Christie, called for a meeting with lawmakers and Horizon's CEO to try to hash out a way forward.

All state-run parks, recreational areas, forests, camping areas, historic sites, and beaches are now closed. "It's a government for the people by the people, not for them", said one driver.

Christie and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto remain deadlocked over a bill to revamp governance of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of New Jersey. And while they plan to be at it again this morning, there's no sense that the impasse can be overcome.

"They send me a budget with Horizon and with the lottery, then these 73 spending items will stay", said Christie this afternoon, brandishing a piece of paper for emphasis.

"Those politicians couldn't get there head and butts together".

On Friday, Prieto opened the board - statehouse parlance for taking the voting roll on legislation - at 7:17 p.m. and kept it open until after midnight and into the weekend.

State police, who guard the property, are not affected by the shutdown.

Other reports by My Hot News

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