The shutdown of the New Jersey Government ended on July 3 after legislators made a deal concerning the state budget. Rules were rewritten for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, the biggest insurer in the state. Governor Chris Christie was widely mocked after photos of him relaxing in a comfortable beach chair on a beach which was closed to the public for the lockdown he himself ordered. The $34.7 billion budget was signed during the early hours of July 5.
Anatomy of the trouble
The deal was made public by Stephen Sweeney and Vincent Prieto, the Senate President and Assembly Speaker respectively. This deal was announced during a press conference before the planned votes. Meetings were also conducted with high level executives of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, the biggest insurance company in the state. The company was central to the budget standoff which forced shutdown of the state.
Legislators, however, were satisfied with the outcome. Senate President Sweeney said that after all the trouble, the budget made is an excellent one. He apologized for the disruption in the state services due to the shutdown. He said that there was no compulsion to shut down the state, but it was a way of getting any deal reach its satisfactory conclusion.
Christie on beach
Sweeney, a Democrat from Gloucester, said that he expected the majority of state operations to be functional from July 4 morning. It means that the beaches and parks which will be closed on Saturday and Sunday can be enjoyed by the public for the national holiday on July 4. Governor Chris Christie assured that he will sign the state budget and expressed regret that it was three days late. This outcome was not what Christie hoped for, an exclusive fund to stop drug addiction. The latter will be paid from the surplus account held by Horizon. He also expressed his plans of going to the beach after signing the deal. The governor's approval ratings are now at record lows.
The media was quick to catch one. Photos of the governor lazing on the Island Beach State Park drew anger from critics. It should be said that the park was closed to the public. It also attracted expert Photoshop pranksters who put the image of the elected official in strange but funny environments. Christie remains unperturbed. He shrugged off the criticism, saying that he had already proven himself over the preceding eight years, and does not bother about political images.