Gov. Chris Christie has signed an executive order which has closed several state agencies, including state-operated parks, following inaction on the 2018 state budget due to a funding dispute.
The executive order declares a state of emergency, but maintains essential state government services such as the State Police, state correctional facilities, key child welfare services, state hospitals and treatment facilities, and NJ TRANSIT. The New Jersey Lottery, casinos and racetracks will also remain open.
Christie and the legislature were unable to reach a deal that would use surplus revenue from Horizon Blue Cross-Blue Shield to fund drug treatment programs.
"This order is necessary to maintain the protection, safety and well-being of the people of New Jersey while I attempt to convince the Legislature to send me a fiscally responsible budget that I can sign and re-open New Jersey's government, " said Governor Christie. "This was completely avoidable. But Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto needlessly stalled the budget process, forcing the closure of New Jersey government and inconveniencing everyone living in and visiting our state."
Prieto has said the Horizon funding is a separate issue and should not be used to fund the drug treatment programs.
Christie has called for a special Joint Session of the Legislature to address the budget for 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 1.
In the meantime, places such as Island Beach State Park, Liberty State Park and the motor vehicle commission will be closed.
The following is a list of impacted services:
Department of Environmental Protection:All state parks, recreation areas, forests, and historic sites, including Island Beach State Park and Liberty State Park, will be closed; all public events within state parks and historic sites will be cancelled. The following will also be closed: permitting offices for Air, Historic Preservation, Land Use, Site Remediation, Solid Waste, and Water Supply; Green Acres and Blue Acres offices; Office of Dispute Resolution; Office of Permit Coordination; most of the Division of Fish & Wildlife (Wildlife Management Areas and on-line services will not be impacted); NJ Geologic Survey; and Rebuild by Design projects.
Department of Transportation:Construction will continue, as will emergency repairs and some roadside safety services. The rest areas on I-295 in Deepwater, Salem County and on I-80 in Knowlton, Warren County, will be closed.
Department of Law & Public Safety:Juvenile Justice Commission operations, State Medical Examiner Offices, and other public safety operations will continue, but some administrative offices will be closed.
Department of Health: The public will not be able to obtain copies of birth and marriage certificates, or copies of adoptees' original birth certificates. No new certifications or renewals will be issued for EMTs, paramedics or Certified Nursing Assistants.
New Jersey Department of Labor:Unemployment Insurance and disability determination services will remain operational. Temporary Disability Insurance claims, Wage and Hour claims, and Family Leave Insurance claims may be filed, but they will not be processed. One Stop Career Centers (state not county services) will be closed; Workers Compensation Courts will be closed. Division of Vocational and Rehabilitation Services will be closed.
Department of Children and Families:Child abuse hotlines, protection services and response teams will continue to operate. Schools for children with special needs will remain open.
Department of Community Affairs:Inspections related to construction codes, fire safety, fairs and fireworks displays will continue, however some public services will not be available.
Department of Corrections:Prisons and halfway houses will remain operational, although some inmate services will be impacted.
Department of Education:Katzenbach School will remain open. Phone help desks, customer service, and all other related staff-based assistance functions will be unavailable and all core public functions will be closed.
Economic Development Authority:EDA will not process any payments to businesses from any program (such as the Business Employment Incentive Program) which funding source needs to be authorized by the FY 2018 Appropriations Act.
Department of the Treasury: July 1 pension checks have been processed and mailed. Taxation call centers and walk-in facilities will be closed. The Division of Risk Management will be closed, however the scheduling of medical appointments, treatments and services for injured workers will remain ongoing. The Division of Pensions and Benefits will be closed, although it will continue payment of health provider claims and life claims, and continue to process changes to family status for health benefits.