One family gained from New Jersey's government shutdown on Saturday - Gov. Chris Christie's wife, their kids and their friends had one of the East Coast's most attractive beaches all to themselves. As a result, New Jersey's state-run beaches, parks, golf courses are closed on this Fourth of July weekend, ticking off confused would-be visitors across the state.
Throughout the day Saturday, New Jersey State Park Police turned away one motor vehicle after another, one bicyclist after another, one pedestrian after another, who came up to the main gate of Island Beach State Park to find it looking as secure as a crime scene. The state closure also won't affect the state lottery, casinos or racetracks, which are considered to be essential functions in New Jersey. Christie has ordered the Democrat-led Legislature to return on Sunday to consider a path around the budget impasse.
On Friday, Christie said a government shut down would be "because of Speaker Prieto".
He did not dispute on Tuesday a reporter who suggested that the Horizon legislation was a part of the budget talks, but instead said there were many issues being discussed.
Christie said earlier this week that he and his family were planning to be there for the Fourth of July holiday. Christie said that it was unlikely that such a recommendation would appear in an interim report due in 2 weeks, but "maybe" it would appear in the final report.
Lawmakers were in the state capital, Trenton, on Saturday to work on resolving the standoff over the measure, pushed by Governor Chris Christie as way to help fund drug addiction services.
Christie declared a state of emergency and called for a special session of the Legislature at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Christie has also demanded a bill to transfer state lottery funds into the underfunded public worker pension system to lessen its unfunded liability. I compromised. I put up a budget bill for a vote.
Asked Saturday if it was fair for his family to be able to use the park while others couldn't, Christie was defiant.
But Christie has conditioned his signing of the budget, including the Democratic priorities and additional school funding, on the passage of the Horizon legislation.
"In his refusal to post the Horizon bill for a vote by his fellow elected Assembly members, he has impacted the state of New Jersey and it's residents unnecessarily", Christie said Saturday.
Horizon opposes the proposed changes.
"If they sent me a budget tonight without Horizon, then, I'll act in one particular way. I would hate to see their reputations damaged ... by not coming to the table now and finding a solution". "That's not a drawing a line in the sand, that's giving them a choice", Christie said, adding later that he was acting as "Mr. Reasonable". "Phil Murphy, as the head of his party, should immediately call his political bosses, who are orchestrating this, and tell them to stop playing politics with the lives of the people who will be hurt by a government shutdown".