Other NJ News

NJ Government Shutdown: State Lawmakers Critical of Christie

699e245ab651e64b3f0f_0b6bc524490edf9cbf3b_sompixgovernorbeachhouse.jpg
The Governor's oceanfront getaway at Island Beach State Park.
699e245ab651e64b3f0f_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

Millburn/Short Hills

Millburn Recreation Accepting Memberships for Pool, Tennis and Golf

February 19, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Township Recreation Department announced that it is accepting memberships for the township pool, tennis and golf facilities. The memberships are available to all Millburn Township residents and the applications are available online.

The membership application can be accessed at http://www.twp.millburn.nj.us/DocumentCenter/View/3258 or go ...

Millburn Police Department Investigating Pair of Residential Burglaries

April 3, 2018

On March 28, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Goldfarb responded to the Union Police Department on a warrant arrest. Robert Kopik, age 41 of Springfield, was placed under arrest on an outstanding criminal warrant and remanded to the Essex County Correctional Facility.

On March 28, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Hunt responded to a Quaker Road residence on a residential burglary. The resident reports ...

Letter to the Editor: New Jersey’s Out-of-Network Bill is a Huge Blow to the Middle-Class

April 8, 2018

As Trenton currently looks to balance the budget, once again it’s our state’s hardest working citizens who will be left holding the bag. This time, though, it will be the hardworking office and ancillary staff from our small business private medical practices.  A bill called “The Out-of-Network Consumer Protection Bill” A-2039/S-485 looks poised to make ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_3e8af4c3228af663aef4_29354610_1585682268146667_4091748840029675392_o-2

Fri, April 20, 7:00 PM

Millburn High School, Millburn

Red Carpet Premiere of the 7th Annual Millburn ...

Carousel_image_b86bc770b3d9f1a03e9e_rummage_sale_logo

Sat, April 21, 9:00 AM

Community Church, Short Hills

Community Church to Hold Spring Rummage Sale for ...

Carousel_image_d011da1118997e9079ba_647027fe33acceeb0ba5_1

Sat, April 21, 11:00 AM

PetSmart, Millburn

Dog Adoption

Carousel_image_4930b780b62b906e0c8e_e33016f1b524cbf30d1f_mini_magick20180329-98141-1flyvbq

Sat, April 21, 12:00 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Millburn Library Annual Book Sale

Millburn Road Closures for April 20

April 20, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - Parsonage Hill Road closed between Long Hill Drive and White Oak Ridge Road until approx 4:00pm Officers working

Troy Drive closed to all traffic between Lawrence Drive and Troy Lane until approx 4:00pm Officers working

Old Short Hills Road has a changed traffic pattern between Silver Spring Road and Dorison Drive no closures expect possible delays until approx 4:00pm ...

Community Church to Hold Spring Rummage Sale for Charity

Community Congregational Church in Short Hills will hold its semiannual Rummage Sale on Saturday, April 21 from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. All proceeds of the sale benefit Community Church’s educational and outreach programs, including the Oasis program that provides bags of groceries and baby supplies to families in Irvington every month.

“The Rummage Sale for Charity at Community Church ...

6th Annual Short Hills House Tour to Benefit Millburn Township Public School Special Services & Promote Autism Awareness

6th Annual Short Hills House Tour to Benefit Millburn Township Public School Special Services & Promote Autism Awareness
Preview Party: 5/3, 6pm - 8pm
House Tour: 5/5, 1pm - 4pm

Autism affects 1 in 41 children in New Jersey.

The 6th Annual Short Hills House Tour to Benefit Millburn Township Public School Special Services & Promote Autism Awareness will take place on May 5, 2016 ...