Monday, 03 August, 2020

New Jersey on the Bring of Government Shut Down

A view of the New Jersey State House the area's capitol building A view of the New Jersey State House the area's capitol building. Marielle Segarra
Christy Curtis | 03 July, 2017, 01:40

The shutdown comes as the July Fourth holiday weekend gets underway and will force the closure of tourist attractions such as state parks, recreational areas, historic sites, state beaches and Liberty State Park.

To be fair, Christie said, his family won't ask for any public services while spending their weekend at the gubernatorial beach house and guest house on Island Beach State Park, according to NJ101.5. 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.

The new governor will inherit the state's gaping public pension shortfall, which has contributed to 11 credit downgrades during Christie's tenure. Chris Christie and Maine Gov. Paul LePage, both Republicans, signed orders to shut down their respective state governments.

However, most of the anger on the Shore Saturday was directed not at the little-known speaker, but at the rumors that New Jersey's first family and their friends were inside the park at the governor's beach house - enjoying the surf and sun all for themselves - while the public was locked out. "For Fourth of July weekend?" Christie has refused to consider the $34.7 billion budget deal without the Horizon bill; Prieto says the Horizon plan is unfair to policyholders and refuses to post it. To get his way, Christie had threatened to use his line-item veto power to cut Democratic spending initiatives from the budget. While the gates were closed to prevent motor vehicles from entering the parking lot, this state park was full of visitors who had simply parked elsewhere and walked in through the open pedestrian entrance. Christie wants a bill requiring Horizon to develop a plan for allocating its "excess" surplus to help pay for drug treatment and other care of the poor and uninsured.

Christie and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto remain deadlocked over a bill to revamp governance of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of New Jersey.

China releases Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo with terminal cancer: lawyer
In 1996, Liu was sentenced to three years of "reeducation-through-labor" as a result of further human rights activities. Liu, 61, is in the late stages of the disease, said Mo Shaoping, his lawyer, who has been in contact with Liu's family.

"Work with me. End this shutdown", Christie said in a speech to the Legislature on Saturday.

Christie said at a news conference in Trenton on Friday, just hours ahead of a midnight deadline to fund the government, he met with top Democratic leaders over the path forward. "Some of them are here because they know it's the responsible thing to do", he said. He was expected to return to the statehouse on Sunday, where he called lawmakers back in an effort to resolve the budget stalemate.

"Horizon is the only company that stayed in the [Obamacare] exchange".

Christie has said that he'll sign any budget that lands on his desk. "I would hate to see their reputations damaged ... by not coming to the table now and finding a solution". "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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