Christie declares state of emergency, shuts down NJ government

Jul 03, 2017, 01:26
Christie declares state of emergency, shuts down NJ government

On Saturday, the Republican governor shut down the government over an intense battle with the Democrat-led Legislature because they refused his wish to overhaul the state's largest health insurer.

The shutdown means state parks and nonessential services such as the Motor Vehicle Commission are shutting down just ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The plan includes tapping into the company's reserve funds to pay for health programs like addiction treatment. But he is refusing to post the Horizon bill for a vote and said again Sunday he wouldn't consider it until after a budget is passed. It does not affect essential services, such as the New Jersey State Police, psychiatric hospitals, of NJ Transit operations.

Liberty State Park was closed, forcing the suspension of ticket sales and ferry service from the site to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The shutdown could be short-lived, however, as Christie called a special legislative session for 11 a.m. ET on Saturday to continue working on a deal.

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LePage signed a similar order in ME, issuing a partial government shutdown through July 3 or until the newly declared state of emergency is terminated.

Prieto said a vote on the budget that remains deadlocked 26-25, with 24 abstentions, will remain open until those 24 abstentions change their minds.

"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. He actually said he is holding the budget hostage with the Horizon bill.

But Prieto says he's concerned about tweaking the state's biggest insurer, which is a nonprofit that has four board members appointed by the governor, at a time when congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump are contemplating overhauling the Affordable Care Act.

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In Pennsylvania, the main spending bill in a $32 billion bipartisan budget package is past the legislature on the state fiscal year's final day, although lawmakers don't know how it'll all be paid for.

"Get it done, Christie", McCallister told PIX11. A list of New Jersey beaches and parks closed today and likely through the holiday can be found here. "Reasonable" during a press conference on Friday afternoon, Christie said the shutdown was "completely avoidable" because he was willing to work with a budget that either included Horizon or one that did not but added that some of the Democrats' budget priorities might not make it past his veto pen without him getting something in return. "We had an opportunity to get together in rooms over those hours and hammer out a compromise, and we didn't".

The shutdown is the state's first since 2006.

"While the budget is not ideal, particularly because of a flawed lottery-pension scheme it incorporates, on Friday I voted yes to ensure that we did not shut down the government", Zwicker said. Similar signs were spotted at other closed locales, including Island Beach State Park.

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