TRENTON, N.J. (WTXF/AP) - New Jersey's government shutdown is dragging on without a resolution to the stalemate between Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto -– and the state is beginning to feel the sting of shuttered services.
Sunday afternoon, he announced this 3 p.m. Sunday news conference:
Christie says there is nothing he can do. He says it's up to the legislature to pass a budget. He says he's willing to sign what Democrats in the legislature send up, but they haven't agreed.
At issue is Christie's proposal to overhaul the state's largest health insurer. Democrats are splintered, with Prieto opposed to the plan, but Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney behind it.
Christie ordered the shutdown of nonessential state services, like parks and motor vehicle offices, Friday after he and lawmakers failed to agree on terms to enact a $34.7 billion budget.
Friday, he wrote about “Declaring a state of emergency and maintaining that essential state government services continue operating for the people of New Jersey.”
State workers have been furloughed.
But at Sunday’s news conference, Gov. Chris Christie said he's using a state helicopter to travel to and from the governor's residence at the state park where his family is staying amid a government shutdown.
Saturday, he flew from Trenton to Island Beach State Park, and then returned to the capital on Sunday. The Republican governor plans to fly back to the park after working Sunday because that's where his family is.
Included among the essential functions that will remain in operation:
State Police, state correctional facilities, key child welfare services, state hospitals and treatment facilities, NJ TRANSIT, and operations linked to the health, safety, and welfare of the public, including certain environmental and health monitoring. The state closure also will NOT impact the State Lottery, casinos and racetracks.
All state parks, recreation areas, forests, and historic sites, including Island Beach State Park and Liberty State Park, will be closed; all public events within state parks and historic sites will be cancelled. Also, permitting offices for Air, Historic Preservation, Land Use, Site Remediation, Solid Waste, and Water Supply; Green Acres and Blue Acres offices; Office of Dispute Resolution; Office of Permit Coordination; most of the Division of Fish & Wildlife (Wildlife Management Areas and on-line services will not be impacted); NJ Geologic Survey; and Rebuild by Design projects. The rest areas on I-295 in Deepwater, Salem County. All MVC agencies and inspection stations will be closed. Online services will still be available.