Christie Flies by State Chopper to Park Amid NJ Government Shutdown


Chris Christie and the Democratic-led Legislature returned to the Statehouse on Saturday to try to resolve the shutdown, the state's first since 2006 and the first under Christie. This budget proposal was rejected by Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, who resisted bringing the proposal to a vote ahead of the holiday weekend.

Remaining open under the shutdown are NJ TRANSIT, state prisons, the state police, state hospitals and treatment centers as well as casinos, race tracks and the lottery.

Christie has ordered nonessential services halted, "including state parks and the motor vehicle commission to close beginning Saturday", the AP says.

The shutdown of the state's government is complicated and based on the state government's failure to pass a budget and a fight over health care overhaul to Horizon, the state's largest healthcare provider, which was proposed by Christie. But the meeting ended without any movement, and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto continued to be unable to muster the votes needed to advance a spending plan from the lower house.

All 80 of the Assembly's seats are up for re-election in November, when New Jersey will also elect a new governor to replace Christie, who is in his eighth and final year as governor. If they send me a budget with Horizon then I'll act in a different way. He amended that Friday to say he would stay in Trenton this weekend if government remained shut down, but his family would still go.

Earlier in the day, Christie told reporters he understands that people may have a negative perception that his family gets to enjoy Island Beach State Park while the public can not, but he pointed out that the governor also has a state-owned residence there.

Many Democrats supported the budget agenda of Christie, a Republican, in order to see a spending plan they support signed into law and allow them to break for the summer and begin their legislative re-election campaigns. "This shutdown will be the capstone of seven and a half failed years of the Christie-Guadagno administration", Murphy said. That's off the table - line-item vetoed out of the budget - if the Horizon bill doesn't reach his desk, he said.

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The governor, at a news conference on Saturday morning, repeatedly blamed Prieto for the impasse.

Christie contends that Horizon is compelled to "give back" as part of its non-profit status and an obligation to embrace charitable needs. Described as New Jersey's biggest government crisis in more than a decade, the shutdown will literally turn the lights out in Trenton, beginning July 1.

"Those politicians couldn't get there head and butts together".

The problem will be a headache for visitors hoping to enjoy Jersey's 40 state parks, recreational areas and historic sites, but will of course be much more severe for residents.

"I come here today in good faith to work with you in a straight forward honest way".

Craig Aplaugh and his wife Angela Morgan Alpaugh, both 42, of Athens, N.Y., also have a summer house on LBI and had stopped by the lighthouse on the chance it might be open despite the shutdown.