NJ Shutdown Is Over

Governor Christie signs the budget. Photo by Tim Larsen

Both houses of the New Jersey Legislature passed a budget last night which Governor Chris Christie signed, ending the three day shutdown of non-essential government services.

New Jersey state parks and beaches will be open today, the 4th of July.  Courts, MVC offices and all other state operations will return to their normal operating hours tomorrow.

At at 10pm press conference announcing a deal on legislation to change the State’s oversight of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said that would ask Christie to support their desire to pay state employees for their forced day off on July 3.

The new budget includes an $325 million increase in state spending on education and social programs that Sweeney pledge to close the government over if he didn’t get.  Governor Christie said in a press release that the new budget contains $2 billion less in discretionary spending than the 2008 budget he inherited when he took office in 2009.

The Horizon reform bill, which Christie insisted upon if he was to approve Sweeney’s increased spending, requires that the health insurer refund excess reserves to policy holders and provides that the Senate President and the Assembly Speaker each appoint a member to the company’s board.  This bill, which is based upon how Pennsylvania’s Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers are regulated, was negotiated between Democrat legislative leaders and Horizon’s management in an all day meeting yesterday.

Horizon had vigorously fought Christie’s February proposal that the insurer turn over $300 million of its reserves to the state for opioid addiction services.  A version of the bill passed in the Senate last week would have expanded Horizon’s charity care obligations in New Jersey and given the state the right to take excess reserves. Prieto refused to let that bill be voted upon in the Assembly.

Prieto fought intense pressure from within his party and Christie’s campaign to blame him for the shutdown.  The Assembly members, many of whom were plotting to oust him to break the budget impasse, give Prieto a standing ovation when the budget and the Horizon bill passed, according to published reports.

In his press conference, Christie claimed victory, stating that he got everything he wanted from the process.  He defiantly defended his use of Island Beach State Park during the shutdown, claiming he does not care about optics and that he was fulfilling a commitment to his family.

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Posted: July 4th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: New Jersey, New Jersey State Budget | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

7 Comments on “NJ Shutdown Is Over”

  1. I blame Halfacre said at 7:38 am on July 4th, 2017:

    Did anyone in the press ask Christie why he lied about not getting any sun?

  2. Tim H said at 10:48 am on July 4th, 2017:

    Sick of left wing media going after the Governor. So what that he was on the beach. Every beach was open except Island Breach State Park. Big deal. The guy gets a bad rap from the likes of the Asbury Park Press and Star Ledger who fan the flames. They hired a plane to snap secret photos of the guy and his family? That’s creepy. He has been able to get more done in a Blue state than anyone would have dreamed. He took on th NJEA (selfish creeps out for thmselves), reformed benefits, capped local spending, etc. The liberal media is after him every day and he thumbs his nose. And when there was a real crisis in this state, Sandy, he showed great leadership and management. If he were governor in say South Carolina or Texas he’d be haile as hero. But in NJ, the jerks like Hollis at the APP and Moran at the Ledger have a lefty field day. Hey Governor, keep doing the right thing and the hell with the left dopes.

  3. Mike Harmon said at 9:45 am on July 5th, 2017:

    The Governor deserves a bad rap. His most recent FU to the taxpayers and citizens of NJ was loud, clear and cannot be justified – even if it was Prieto’s fault. The CORRUPT DEMOCRAT MACHINE laid a perfect trap using the perfect bait – the Governor’s own ego, stubbornness and unwillingness to listen to his advisors.
    The Gov says he has no regrets. Look at Drudge today.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DD7CV9cUIAAshMj.jpg

    Will the legislature and Governor continue to support Horizon’s rip off and attack of small businesses with 41% premium increases bringing cost per person to $16,000 including deductible?

    We need competition and more carriers – or let us buy our health insurance across state lines.

  4. Mike Harmon said at 9:45 am on July 5th, 2017:

    The Governor deserves a bad rap. His most recent FU to the taxpayers and citizens of NJ was loud, clear and cannot be justified – even if it was Prieto’s fault. The CORRUPT DEMOCRAT MACHINE laid a perfect trap using the perfect bait – the Governor’s own ego, stubbornness and unwillingness to listen to his advisors.
    The Gov says he has no regrets. Look at Drudge today.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DD7CV9cUIAAshMj.jpg

    Will the legislature and Governor continue to support Horizon’s rip off and attack of small businesses with 41% premium increases bringing cost per person to $16,000 including deductible?

    We need competition and more carriers – or let us buy our health insurance across state lines.

  5. Bob English said at 10:08 am on July 5th, 2017:

    Can’t blame the “left wing media” for doing its job and reporting the Governor’s own words that show he intentionally lied

  6. Mike Harmon said at 10:30 am on July 5th, 2017:

    This story is intriguing in that it marks the end of the Christie political career.

    It is sort of a “Kaepernick moment” in that he did something dumb, stubbornly reinforces the bad decision with no regrets and now will stand alone in continued defiance of the NJ families he flipped off.

    Or maybe for me I see the Emperor Has No Clothes after all. Yikes.

  7. That's a frightening thought, right there! said at 12:44 pm on July 5th, 2017:

    The entire episode was completely unnecessary, and a dereliction of his and the whole legislature’ duty..and it pains me to say, it almost seems like his parting “gift” to our poor, long-suffering lt governor: that would be the nice, smart lady who ran the place fine, while Ego Man ran around looking for his next best thing. His disrespect for her by only calling her by her title and not her name, was a continual slap in her face. A shame, and a very tough road for her- especially now..and please, Mr President, other than a lower law job, do not give that guy a big new job, now!