New Jersey government closes budget deadlock

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The Republican governor shut down the state government on Friday night after the legislature failed to pass a budget. Christie said he would convene both houses of the legislature on Monday morning to try to break the deadlock.

The closure forced the closure of tourist attractions and put about 30,000 to 35,000 state employees on leave. All 40 state parks, recreation areas, historic sites, state beaches, and Liberty State Park were closed just at the start of the July 4 weekend. Campers who stayed in the parks on Friday night were asked to leave on Saturday morning, Christie said.

Meanwhile, Christie and her family had access to Island Beach State Park, a barrier island where the state governor’s residence is located.

“This is how it goes,” Christie said on Saturday in response to questions from a reporter at a press conference. “Run for the governor and you can have a residence. ”

What led to the closure

Christie signed a state of emergency authorizing the operation of essential government services such as state police, prisons, social services, public hospitals and treatment centers. New Jersey Transit, the state lottery, casinos and racetracks are also immune from the closure.

According to nj.com, the dispute in the legislature concerns the finances of the nonprofit Horizon Blue Cross / Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer.

The State Senate has passed a bill that allows the state government to control how much Horizon keeps in its surplus fund before it is required to contribute to a public health fund. But Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Democrat, refused to have the bill put to a vote in the House, nj.com said.

The governor told reporters on Saturday the state would do whatever it takes to function, either through federal funding or by paying a tab. He cited the state police as an essential service. He said Horizon makes huge profits without any oversight from the state government, which created Horizon in the first place, and that it doesn’t want additional oversight or transparency.

On Sunday, Christie blamed Prieto for the stalemate and said he would sign any budget that crosses his office.

“If they send it to me with Horizon, I will sign it. If they send it to me without Horizon, I will use my authority to make a smaller budget,” he said at a conference. afternoon press.

“If they send me a budget today, the shutdown would be over. The legislature decides not to send me either budget.”

No more services will be deleted

Prieto said discussions about changing Horizon were not part of the budget process and that Christie was trying to “extort” taxpayers from Horizon.

“I will review it once the budget is signed. In fact, the Assembly Judiciary Committee is ready to hold hearings from this month,” Prieto said.

Christie said no other services should be cut.

CNN’s Evan Simko-Bednarski and Emanuella Grinberg contributed to this report.


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