The Fourth of July holiday will be a little better than expected because New Jersey’s beaches and state parks will reopen in time for the celebration after a late-night deal executed by lawmakers in Trenton put an end to the three-day government shutdown.
Governor Chris Christie stated he was putting an end to the three-day shutdown after approving a compromised $34.7B bill.
The reasoning behind the shutdown was Christie’s demand that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield be overhauled so that the state can get into the nonprofit insurer’s surplus to finance drug treatment.
On Monday, Christie voiced that while he was ‘saddened’ the budget deal is three days late, he will sign it into law. The bill will see almost 30,000 furloughed state employees able to return to work.
Christie agreed to sign the bill without vetoing any Democrat add-ons, including $100M for K-12 education, $25M to expand pre-kindergarten, and $25M for extraordinary special education.
The bill also redistributes $31M in aid from districts considered over-funded based on the school funding formula to those considered underfunded.
The bargains effectiveness puts an end to a three-day saga that caused a public relations fiasco for the already-unpopular governor, who was photographed over the weekend suntanning on an empty state-run beach that was off limits to the public while just a few miles down the shore thousands were crammed into a much smaller area.
Christie’s constituents flew a banner plane over his summer residence in Seaside Park on Monday with the message: ‘Tell Chris Christie: Get the hell off Island Beach State Park.’
Video of the plane flying by went viral on social media. In the video, people who watched the plane fly by can be heard cheering.
“I saw some of these news feeds that I’ve been watching upstairs of people sitting on the beach in Asbury Park,” Christie said at the time. “Get the hell off the beach!”
Christie pushed back against outcry from his latest public relations gaffe.
Appalling aerial pictures shows how Independence Day Weekend was wrecked for thousands who were forced to cram onto town-owned beaches while Christie, 54, took a whole ten miles of state-run shore for himself.
The governor had closed down all non-essential state functions – including Island Beach State Park, seen towards the top of the photo – while the Senate struggled through a budget standoff.
But that didn’t stop him from shamelessly using the now-empty sands of the park, which houses the governor’s summer mansion.
When faced by the photos of himself on the beach, Christie tried to dismiss the reports, sarcastically calling it a “great bit of journalism.”
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