New Jersey government shuts down in budget standoff

A view of the New Jersey State House the area's capitol building

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. State parks, recreation areas, forests, camping areas, historic sites and state-run beaches are closed just in time for the long Independence Day holiday weekend.

During the shutdown, state parks and beaches were closed, and Atlantic City's casinos had to shut their doors because gambling inspectors were among those furloughed.

"New Jersey state government, absent something happening in the next eight hours, will shut down", the Republican governor said Friday afternoon.

Referring to the shutdown as "Gov. Christie's Hostage Crisis Day One", Prieto said he has made compromises that led to the budget now before the Legislature.

Christie defiantly defended his family's use of the popular beach as thousands couldn't during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

"The houses are the governor's houses and they are not asking for any services".

Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto opposes the bill and refuses to consider it for a vote, leading to a stalemate.

Sound unfair? Deal with it, Christie told reporters.

Christie, a former GOP presidential candidate and adviser to President Donald Trump who is leading the White House's anti-opioid commission, announced the shutdown of the state's nonessential services in an executive order.

The fight between Christie and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto stems from a plan to overhaul control of the state's largest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, a non-profit that operates under special state laws, NorthJersey.com reported.

This is Christie's first government shutdown in his two terms, and the first since 2006 under Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.

Speaking to the New Jersey 101.5 radio station Monday, Christie said that he was looking forward to spending July 4 at the beach and that he expected "the whole family" would show up.

At a news conference Saturday, Christie said he agreed to the bill sponsored by state Sen.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy took aim at both Christie and his Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno on Saturday morning, saying the shutdown was unnecessary.

'We will be fully loaded, I don't know how much sleep [wife] Mary Pat and I will be getting, ' said Christie. I will not tax them anymore and in my budget overall taxes were decreased.

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