Government

NJ Government Shutdown: State Lawmakers Critical of Christie

0b6bc524490edf9cbf3b_sompixgovernorbeachhouse.jpg
The Governor's oceanfront getaway at Island Beach State Park.
0b6bc524490edf9cbf3b_sompixgovernorbeachhouse.jpg

TRENTON, NJ - Day Two of the shutdown of New Jersey's government continued Sunday after legislators failed to find a compromise on the 2018 state budget during an emergency meeting at the Statehouse Saturday.

Members of the state Assembly and Senate are not expected to meet again until Monday afternoon, ensuring the shutdown of New Jersey's state beaches, parks and other non-essential services will continue into a third day during the July 4th holiday weekend.

Christie and his family are spending the holiday weekend at the governor's oceanfront retreat at Island Beach State Park, which has been closed to the public as part of the shutdown.

Sign Up for E-News

State Sen. Christoher "Kip" Bateman, R-16th, and state Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16th are critical of the governor's actions.

Christie issued an executive order effective at midnight Saturday to shut down the New Jersey's government after he and the legislators hit an impasse.

The Governor took to Twitter claiming :

"The Legislature’s inability to approve an FY18 State Budget by the June 30th deadline has forced the closure of state government."

He also claims Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto  D-Hudson, "unneccessarily stalled the budget process, inconveniencing everyone living in our state."

Prieto has refused to consider the Horizon proposal in budget negotiations.

Bateman, R-16th, criticized both Christie and Prieto.

"I feel terrible for the people," Bateman said after leaving Trenton on Saturday. "They should be sitting down in a room together to work this out, but no one wants to give an inch. They're both backed into a corner and have no wiggle room."

Christie contends that Horizon is compelled to "give back" as part of its non-profit status and an obligation to embrace charitable needs. 

The impasse centers around Christie's insistence that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield turn over $300 million of its surplus to New Jersey to fund programs for drug treatment for the state's indigent population and those on Medicaid. Lawmakers would have to agree to include that proposal in the 2018 state budget; The state Senate on Thursday voted to approve a budget plan including the Horizon component; some members pushed back on the proposal, including Bateman, who voted no.

“This is further confirmation that the Governor’s proposal amounts to a state takeover of Horizon that would amount to a government takeover that puts politicians in charge of the insurance that protects the health of 3.8 million New Jerseyans,”  said Kevin McArdle, Horizon spokesman.  “This isn’t about transparency, this is about giving politicians and political bosses a new piggybank and patronage pit.  It is an unprecedented power grab that will hurt the very consumers Horizon has worked to serve for 85 years."

"I just think it's a money grab. The whole proposal is wrong," Bateman said.

"Correct me if I’m wrong, but health insurance is expensive enough as it is already. If a policy holder has overpaid in premiums, that money should go back into their pocket – not into a slush fund for the government," Bateman said.

"To raid Horizon’s reserves is completely irresponsible. There is no justification for forcing a stable insurance agency to become unstable, especially given everything that is going on in Washington," Bateman added.

State  Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16th is also critical of Christie's executive order to shut down the government and his insistence that the Horizon surplus be incorporated in the state budget.

He issued the following statement on Sunday:

"Disagreements in politics are inevitable, but the disagreements over this budget were not good faith disputes over funding priorities. Instead, the Governor threatened to eliminate school aid increases and other important programs if we do not meet his demands, and he has now shut down our state government to make good on those threats.

"This is no way to lead, and the people of New Jersey deserve better.

"The controversial proposal on Horizon, which I cannot support in its current form, remains at the center of this harmful impasse and government shutdown.  With the attacks on the Affordable Care Act in Washington, D.C., the future of healthcare is uncertain, and tens of millions of Americans in New Jersey and around the country are at risk of losing their health insurance.  Lives are literally at stake. While we absolutely must ensure that Horizon is acting in a responsible, accountable way, we should do so through our usual legislative process.  Tying the Horizon proposal to the State’s budget is arbitrary and unnecessary.  

On Thursday I did not vote on the proposed budget to allow more time for the Legislature and the Governor to strike a compromise that would ensure his signature on the budget as it is, which includes critically important funds for property tax relief, healthcare, infrastructure and school aid.  In my legislative district alone, school districts in Manville, Somerville Borough and Montgomery would receive much-needed boosts in funding, to the benefit of thousands of children. 

While the budget is not perfect, particularly because of a flawed lottery-pension scheme it incorporates, on Friday I voted yes to ensure that we did not shut down the government," Zwicker said.

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

East Orange/Orange

Winter Weather Advisory for Northern NJ Tuesday through Wednesday

January 16, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - A winter weather advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service for Northern NJ beginning 4 p.m. Tuesday through 4 p.m. Wednesday.  Snow is expected to begin late tonight and continue into midday Wednesday.

Drivers should plan on slippery road conditions, especially during the morning commute on Wednesday. Total snow accumulations of 3 to 5 inches are ...

10 Quick And Easy Ways To Get Out Of Your Rut

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, doing the same things over and over again. We have job and family responsibilities, time commitments, a tight budget, and so on. But that’s no reason to feel stuck. There are lots of free and inexpensive ways to get out of a rut and make life more exciting, with something interesting to look forward to every day. It might take a little planning, but ...

8 Warning Signs That It Might Be Time To Leave Your Current Job

It’s never easy to make large changes in your life. This is particularly true when it comes to a job. It can be even more traumatic if you are thinking about not just a job change, but a career change as well.

However, there are often clear signs that it is time to leave your current position. Watch out for them and decide on practical next steps so you can start living a better life, ...

Common Triggers For People To Follow A Different Direction In Life

There are a number of common triggers that might cause someone to start looking for a new direction in life. Some are external and some internal.

Career Change

There are a number of reasons a person might make a career change. They include:

* Loss of a job - Getting laid off or fired will often cause someone to take stock of their career to determine if they are on the right track. Some ...

The Importance Of Having Supportive People Around You

Last time, we discussed the kinds of questions you need to ask in order to be sure that you and the person you are dating/in a romantic relationship with or married to is on the same page about what you want from life, and how you see yourselves growing together.

Sometimes the answers will be perfect. At other times, you may not like what you hear. In this case, you will have to decide whether ...

How A Bucket List Can Take Your Life In A New Direction

Last time, we looked at a number of different people who changed their lives and careers completely, daring to take a new direction when most people would have stayed stuck in a rut or not had the confidence to change, or to seize the moment when the opportunity presented itself.

Life is short, but it can seem richer and fuller if there is meaning and purpose to it. We each have our own ...

“The Power of the World Lies in the Gentle, Yet Strong Hands of the Women of this Nation.”  

January 20, 2018

Today women from across this nation and world came together to build upon and continue the movement for women’s rights; from equality and equity to employment and equal pay.  Last year millions of women marched in cities across this nation and world – in fact, many of you joined together to represent our sisters, our mothers, our aunts, grandmothers, nieces, and friends.  ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_06659214ce3bae82fdaa_cooking-with-heart

Sat, February 3, 9:00 AM

Mountainside Medical Center, Montclair

Cooking with Heart

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Red Cross and Irvington to Honor MLK Day of Service Teaching Fire Safety and Installing Free Smoke Alarms

January 12, 2018

IRVINGTON, NJ – As part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss, the Irvington Municipal Council and Office of Public Safety Fire Division have partnered with the Red Cross to help reduce the number of home fire-related injuries and fatalities in Irvington.

“We are happy to join forces again with the American Red Cross and provide free smoke alarm ...