States face partial shutdowns as July 4 holiday looms
KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — New Jersey, Illinois and Maine are facing at least partial government shutdowns during the heart of the summer holiday season, which will adversely affect residents’ travel and holiday plans, as well as the payments towards some government employees, if the states don’t take action.
Jersey City, New Jersey’s Liberty State Park — a sprawling public space known for its beautiful views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty — is also a common destination for July 4 revelers from the Garden State. This year, however, the park will be closed due to the shut down, according to NJ.com.
Other parks and state beaches across the state are also likely to be affected, according to the Associated Press.
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop posted on Facebook that Fourth of July festivities that were previously set to take place at the park will be moved to Exchange Place, a financial district that also overlooks parts of New York City.
“I’m not willing to risk waiting around for the state government to act,” Fulop wrote in his post.
New Jersey’s shutdown is the result of a stalemate between Republican Gov. Chris Christie and lawmakers, who are split over whether to include legislation affecting the state’s largest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, into the state budget, according to the Associated Press.
Illinois, the U.S.’s fifth largest state by population, has entered its third straight fiscal year without a budget, according to a report by the AP.
The issue has already slowed the pace of road work in the state, according to the Chicago Tribune.
School funding, state payroll, and pension payments could also be affected if the shutdown persists into August, Comptroller Susana Mendoza, a Democrat, told Bloomberg.
“If the legislature fails to send a balanced budget package to my desk by Friday, we will have no choice but to keep them in session until they get the job done,” Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner wrote in a Facebook post dated Friday.
Maine, a popular summer holiday destination, is also in the middle of a prolonged fight over its state budget.
The state’s government shutdown is “for the first time in more than a quarter-century Saturday,” according to a report in the Portland Press Herald.
Gov. Paul LePage, who drew national headlines last summer for making what critics referred to as racist comments at a town hall, as well as for leaving a lawmaker an expletive laced voicemail message, has repeatedly blamed Democrats in his state for creating the conflict that led to the shutdown.
“I submitted a budget more than six months ago — six months ago — yet Democrat politicians in Augusta are attempting to blame the governor’s office for a shutdown,” LePage wrote in a Facebook post published Friday.
House Republicans blocked the passage of a budget compromise on Friday night, and LePage attempted to introduce a new spending plan just three and a half hours before the end of the fiscal year, according to reporting by the Portland Press Herald.
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