Government shutdown in the State of New Jersey: Republican Governor Christie's Legacy

Thanks to government deadlock over the budget, all of New Jersey's state-run parks and beaches will be closed to the public until the issue is straightened out, whenever that might be.

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.

The timing couldn't have been much worse for folks hoping to visit state parks and beaches on the holiday weekend. The state lottery and NJ Transit also remain in operation, the website reported. Essential government services were to continue operating.

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

But the closure of the 10-mile barrier island in Ocean County won't be affecting Gov. Chris Christie and his guests, who have use of the gubernatorial beach house and guest house.

"We're not going to accomplish anything unless we get in a room and talk", Sweeney said at a Sunday afternoon news conference where he publicly demanded that Horizon CEO Bob Marino meet with him in the State House on Monday.

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Christie said at a news conference on Friday that he and Senate Democrats, who have agreed with the governor, still had not reached a deal with Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, who refuses to consider the Horizon legislation.

Christie told reporters Saturday that the state will do what it must to function, either via federal funding or by running up a tab. State parks and beaches are also closed, as will motor vehicle offices.

Chris Christie ordered the first state government shutdown in over a decade Friday night as he and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto remained deadlocked in budget negotiations, fighting over a plan to overhaul the state's largest health insurer. Earlier in the exchange, Christie had discussed the origins of the Horizon bill, which began with a call during his February budget address for $300 million from Horizon's surplus to fight opioid addiction. "In fact, the Assembly Judiciary Committee stands ready to hold hearings starting this month", Prieto said. The insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, has strongly opposed the legislation.

The emergency orders marked the first state government shutdown in New Jersey since 2006 and the first in ME since 1991. "Some of them are here because they know it's the responsible thing to do", he said. "I would hate to see their reputations damaged ... by not coming to the table now and finding a solution".

"Those politicians couldn't get there head and butts together". Prieto called Assembly members into the chamber Friday evening and opened the board for voting, but it became clear he would come nowhere close to the 41 votes needed to pass the budget.

  • Sonia Alvarado