New Jersey fails to pass budget, Gov orders government shut down

 (Alan Tu/WHYY)

(Alan Tu/WHYY)

New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie has ordered the state government to shut down after he and the Democrat-led Legislature failed to reach an agreement on a new budget.

The shutdown means state parks and nonessential services like the Motor Vehicle Commission are shutting down just ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Prisons, the state police and casinos will remain open.

“My weekend is going to be ruined and the people of New Jersey’s weekend is going to be impacted. You can bet for sure that I’m not going to let 120 other people have the weekend off,” said Christie.

The governor has ordered a Special Joint Session of the Legislature to immediately address the impasse. Christie notified the Senate and Assembly late Friday in a letter that a Special Joint Session of the Legislature will be convened Saturday, July 1, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.

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Budget talks fell apart when Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto failed to support a bill to make over the state’s largest health insurer. The measure was backed by Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney. 

When state government shutdown in 2006 state workers were furloughed and then received back pay, but Christie indicated that’s not likely this time. “Yeah don’t count on it. That was Jon ‘I’ll fight for a good contract for you, Corzine. I ain’t him,” said Christie.

Christie is term-limited. Voters will elect a new governor in November.

Phil Gregory and AP Wire contributed to this story.

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