Published: Mon, July 03, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Government shutdown now imminent due to impasse in Trenton

Government shutdown now imminent due to impasse in Trenton

Parks and beaches were among the non-essential services that Governor Chris Christie ordered to close on midnight on Friday after New Jersey lawmakers in Trenton failed to reach an agreement on a almost $35 billion budget.

That was the tongue-in-cheek response from Larry Manno of Ridgefield, Conn., when he learned Saturday that Christie and his family were spending the weekend at the governor's official retreat in Island Beach State Park even though the 10-mile long park was off limits to everyone else. Municipal parks are still open and the New Jersey transit system is still running, but non-emergency state offices and agencies have been shuttered and most state employees have been furloughed.

"This is further confirmation that the Governor's proposal amounts to a state takeover of Horizon that would amount to a government takeover that puts politicians in charge of the insurance that protects the health of 3.8 million New Jerseyans", said Kevin McArdle, Horizon spokesman.

After failing to pass a budget before the midnight deadline, NJ Governor Chris Christie ordered a government shutdown.

The state Senate passed a bill that allows the state government to control how much Horizon keeps in its surplus fund before it must contribute to a public health fund.

Earlier Friday, Sue Deck said that she, her husband and two children had come to the park in their RV and had planned to fish through the weekend. "But Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto needlessly stalled the budget process, forcing the closure of New Jersey government and inconveniencing everyone living in and visiting our state".

"I've been the one that's been trying to negotiate", Prieto told reporters after midnight. State law requires that a budget be signed into law by July 1, but the impasse prompted Christie to close government.

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The Democrat-controlled state Legislature is scheduled to move forward with voting on Republican Gov. Chris Christie's final budget Thursday, but a stalemate over one of the governor's key priorities lingers.

He did not mention Prieto but complained that Democrats frittered away several hours on an extended budget vote that went nowhere instead of working to cut a deal.

Christie has called the Legislature into session for Saturday.

"I don't know if it's fair, but they are not asking for any services", Christie said during a Saturday news conference in Trenton.

"Horizon is the only company that stayed in the [Obamacare] exchange". That's off the table - line-item vetoed out of the budget - if the Horizon bill doesn't reach his desk, he said.

"I've been coming here for 18 years".

"I'm open to doing things after we get the budget done and I'm still holding to that", he said. "Phil Murphy, as the head of his party, should immediately call his political bosses, who are orchestrating this, and tell them to stop playing politics with the lives of the people who will be hurt by a government shutdown".

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