Monday, 23 July, 2018

Budget Impasse Shuts Down NJ Government, Closes Parks on Holiday Weekend

Feb. 28 2017 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his budget address ramping up his rhetoric against Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey New Jersey Budget Stalemate Brings State Closer To Shutdown
Andrew Cummings | 03 July, 2017, 01:56

But Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said a major July 4 celebration scheduled for Liberty State Park featuring a concert by Kool & The Gang would be held at another location if the shutdown stretches on.

The shutdown forces the closure of tourist attractions such as all 40 state parks, recreational areas, historic sites, state beaches and Liberty State Park just as the July Fourth holiday weekend gets underway.

In late February, during his budget speech, Christie said he wanted $300 million from Horizon to fund efforts to battle the state's addiction crisis.

In a statement to Fox 5, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said, "Gov. Christie and the legislators who won't vote "yes" on the budget are responsible for this unacceptable shutdown".

"I can not in good conscience vote for a state budget that would cut more than $1 million from our local schools in the 24th Legislative District", Oroho said.

But until the almost $35 billion budget is passed, state parks in the Garden State will stay closed, along with the state's popular beaches.

The House voted 173-27 on Friday, hours after the Senate voted 43-7.

Not so in New Jersey, where the state's constitution requires the government to suspend spending aside from public safety and emergency services if a balanced budget is not in place by the start of the fiscal year. Lawmakers would have to agree to include that proposal in the 2018 state budget; The state Senate on Thursday voted to approve a budget plan including the Horizon component; some members pushed back on the proposal, including Bateman, who voted no.

The signs were authorized and made by Christie's office, which called them "official government advice".

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Prieto has already signed off on the other bill Christie wants that would shift lottery revenue to the state's fiscally troubled public employee pension system.

Prieto does not believe that the Horizon bill should be tied to the budget.

"We had heard (about the budget impasse) peripherally through the NY (television) stations", said Manno, 62, who has owned a summer house on the island for 14 years.

"It's a holiday weekend", she told CBS2's Jessica Borg. "It's not clear that there is any rhyme or reason to how this state budget prioritizes education funding".

"This is no way to lead, and the people of New Jersey deserve better".

The state Senate passed a bill that allows the state government to control how much Horizon keeps in its surplus fund before it must contribute to a public health fund.

Prieto remained steadfast Saturday in his opposition, reiterating that he won't consider the plan as part of the budget process but would consider it once a budget is signed.

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. You think they could pass appropriations bills for specific things as opposed to all or nothing.

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