Happy Fourth! NJ Shutdown Closes Parks, Beaches

State lawmakers at impasse over restructuring largest health insurer
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2017 7:03 AM CDT
Happy Fourth! NJ Shutdown Closes Parks, Beaches
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses a joint session of the Democrat-led Legislature at the statehouse, Saturday, July 1, 2017, in Trenton, NJ.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

As the Fourth of July holiday gets underway, the state of New Jersey closed its doors—along with its tourist attractions including Liberty State Park, state-run beaches, historic sites, rec areas, and all 40 state parks, as a budget throwdown gave way to a government shutdown. Writing at the Star Ledger, Tom Moran calls the state deadlock that spoiled the holiday plans of many nothing more than "testosterone poisoning," since either side could compromise but instead both are holding out for a "clean victory." "It is all about who has the biggest muscles, or who has the biggest you-know-what," says the lone female state senator in senior leadership. It's the first state shutdown since 2006, and the first for Gov. Chris Christie, reports the AP, who CNN notes issued a state of emergency that allows state police, prisons, hospitals, welfare services, and the lottery to keep running.

"We knew this was probably coming, but it's still a shame we have to head out," says a Cub Scout leader whose group of 45 found itself evicted from a planned weekend of camping at a state park. Among those whose plans weren't spoiled by the shutdown: Christie's family, who is planning to head to Island Beach State Park, where the state owns a home that's available to the governor. Not fair? Christie's heart bleeds for you. "The governor has a residence at Island Beach. Others don't. That's the way it goes. Run for governor and you can have the residence." At the heart of the stalemate is a restructuring of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, the state's largest health insurer. Lawmakers are due to meet again Sunday at 2pm to try to hammer out an agreement. (More New Jersey stories.)

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