GOP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie enjoyed private access to a deserted stretch of the Jersey shore Sunday thanks to a government shutdown that prevented the public from visiting the beach.
Christie shut down the state’s government at midnight Friday after New Jersey’s budget plan failed to pass due to disagreements related to government regulation of the state’s largest health insurance provider.
The shutdown closed many of the state’s tourist attractions including public beaches and camping areas and furloughed an estimated 35,000 state workers. It did not, however, prevent Christie from enjoying private access to Island Beach State Park, a barrier island where the state-owned governor’s residence is located.
Christie was matter of fact when asked about his beach access by a reporter at a press conference Saturday. “That’s just the way it goes,” Christie said. “Run for governor and you can have a residence.”
Christie signed a state of emergency preventing the shut down of essential services like the state police, correctional facilities and hospitals. NJ transit, the state lottery, casinos and racetracks were also spared.
The budget dispute began after the state Senate passed a bill granting the state the authority to determine how much money Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield can keep in its surplus fund before it is required to contribute to a public health fund. Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto blocked the bill from coming to a vote in the house.
Christie placed the blame for the shutdown squarely on Prieto, saying he would sign whatever budget crossed his desk.
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