With Beaches Empty, Christie Wages One More Fight – New York Times
It may prove to be the final battle for a governor who for a time seemed to redefine what it meant to be brash in modern politics, at least until President Trump’s emergence as a political figure. It was a style that Mr. Christie thought would punch his ticket to the White House, but with his presidential dreams dashed, he appears nonetheless determined to end his last fight with a win.
New Jersey is one of at least nine states that failed to meet their July 1 budget deadline. That had an immediate effect on residents of three of the states — Illinois, Maine and New Jersey.
The other six states — Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin — either have laws that maintain current spending levels or provide for stopgap measures in case of a budget impasse.
Officials said states without budgets would feel the full effects on Wednesday, after the Fourth of July holiday, when courts, motor-vehicle agencies and other state offices are to resume normal business. Monday is not a holiday, but because it falls between the weekend and the holiday, state officials expected less activity than usual.
In New Jersey, Mr. Christie’s longtime Democratic ally, Stephen M. Sweeney, the State Senate president, pushed through a bill on Thursday that would give state officials substantial authority to strip Horizon of reserves they deemed excessive. Mr. Christie had made clear that if the Horizon bill were not passed, he would use his line-item veto to strike Democratic spending priorities from the budget, including school funding and social welfare programs, in effect rendering the budget useless.
New Jersey’s Constitution requires the government to cease spending on everything except public safety and emergency services if a budget is not signed by July 1, and so state parks closed on Saturday, and government offices were not expected to open on Monday. Thousands of workers have been furloughed, and Mr. Christie said they should not expect to receive back pay when a budget is ultimately approved.
After months of attacking Horizon and its leaders, Mr. Christie blamed the shutdown on the leader of the State Assembly, Vincent Prieto, a Democrat. The governor’s office adorned buildings around the state with posters showing Mr. Prieto and a caption that said, “This Facility Is CLOSED Because of This Man.”