New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the Democrat-led Legislature are returning to work to try to resolve the state’s first government shutdown since 2006 and the first under Christie.
The Republican governor and the Democrat-led Legislature failed to reach an agreement on a new budget by the deadline at midnight Friday, CBS New York reports.
In a news conference Saturday morning, Christie blamed Democratic State Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto for causing the shutdown.
“If there’s not a resolution to this today, everyone will be back tomorrow,” Christie said, calling the shutdown “embarrassing and pointless.” He also repeatedly referred to the government closure as “the speaker’s shutdown.”
Prieto remained steadfast in his opposition, reiterating that he won’t consider the plan as part of the budget process but would consider it once a budget is signed.
Referring to the shutdown as “Gov. Christie’s Hostage Crisis Day One,” Prieto said he has made compromises that led to the budget now before the Legislature.
“I am also ready to consider reasonable alternatives that protect ratepayers, but others must come to the table ready to be equally reasonable,” Prieto said. “Gov. Christie and the legislators who won’t vote ‘yes’ on the budget are responsible for this unacceptable shutdown. I compromised. I put up a budget bill for a vote. Others now must now do their part and fulfill their responsibilities.”
Christie ordered nonessential services to close beginning Saturday. New Jerseyans were feeling the impact as the shutdown took effect, shuttering state parks and disrupting ferry service to Liberty and Ellis islands.
Police were turning away vehicles and bicyclists at Island Beach state park in Ocean County. A sign posted at the park entrance featured a photo of Prieto and the phone number of his district office in Secaucus, along with the caption: “This facility is CLOSED because of this man.” Read more at CBS.