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NJ Budget Deal Signed, Parks and Beaches Reopen for July 4

What to Know

  • Lawmakers in New Jersey have reached a budget deal and all state parks will reopen for the Fourth of July, officials said
  • New Jersey's state government shut down when lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a health insurance bill in the budget
  • Gov. Christie ordered nonessential services, including state parks and the motor vehicle commission, to close

Chris Christie has signed New Jersey's new $34.7 billion budget deal, and the state's beaches and parks reopened to the public July 4th.

After coming to an agreement with his legislature late Monday, the New Jersey governor signed the deal, allowing for the reopening of the nonessential state services in time for the holiday.

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto unveiled the deal at a joint news conference on Monday at the statehouse. The deal calls for a $34.7 billion budget that includes more than $300 million in Democratic spending priorities and is part of an agreement to overhaul the state's largest health insurer.

The Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield legislation calls for annual audits of the nonprofit's reserve level, sets a range for their reserves and requires excess to be spent on policyholders.

The budget stalemate centered on Christie's desire for legislation to overhaul Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield as part of a deal to sign off on a budget including a series of Democratic priorities.

State parks were shut down during the stalemate, along with other nonessential state services, including state courts and the motor vehicle offices where people go to get driver's licenses. Tens of thousands of state workers were furloughed until Christie signed off on the budget early Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Christie caught heat Monday for his family time on a beach to which he had blocked public access. A spokesman for the governor said he had returned to Trenton on Monday as the standoff over the $34.7 billion budget continued.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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