The move comes after New Jersey lawmakers failed to pass a budget by the annual deadline
By I.S. Saluja
TRENTON, NJ (TIP): As if the existing woes were not enough for Chris Christie who is heading into his final six months as governor, a crisis in the form of government shutdown has added to his worries. 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. What a way to prepare for celebration of 4th of July!
New Jersey lawmakers failed to pass a budget by the annual deadline at midnight of June 30th, as required and Christie promptly issued an order prompting closure of “government offices and services deemed non-essential”. State parks and beaches are also closed, as will motor vehicle offices. Courts could be closed from Monday. Tens of thousands of state government employees will be furloughed.
And while the origins of the shutdown are complex, only one person is likely to bear the blame in the public eye: Governor Chris Christie.
“It’s all going to come down to when folks get up tomorrow for the July 4th weekend and drive down to Island Beach State Park to spend the day and a sign says it’s closed,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “They’re going to blame Gov. Christie and nobody else.”
“I’m not happy about this,” Christie said in a press conference just eight hours before the shutdown deadline. “This is completely avoidable.”
After two terms that saw his rise to GOP superstardom derailed by Bridgegate and then a fallout with the Trump team, Christie — the least popular governor in New Jersey recorded history, with an approval rating at 15 percent — is already so politically toxic that his own lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, is running away from him while campaigning to succeed him.
Such a fiscal debacle had been avoided since 2006, when New Jersey Democrats shut down the government in an argument over raising the state sales tax despite controlling the governorship and both chambers of the Legislature.
But that streak was broken at midnight.