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NJ Closing about Everything

Guest FishFanInPA

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Guest FishFanInPA

TRENTON - Gov. Corzine this morning declared an unprecedented state government shutdown after his administration and legislators failed to reach a budget agreement by today's constitutional deadline.


The closure means that the state lottery will stop selling tickets tonight, all state Motor Vehicle Commission offices are to close at noon, and road construction projects have been ordered halted.


The shutdown will also halt racing and simulcasting at the Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park starting at 6 p.m. because state racing regulators will not be on duty.


State officials say the combined racing loss could be $1 million if the shutdown continues through the July 4 weekend, one of the busiest of the year.


Atlantic City's 12 casinos could also be forced to close because they require the presence of state casino inspectors. The casinos are now mounting a legal challenge to stay open.


If the budget standoff continues past tomorrow, state campgrounds and parks - including the two state beaches - would close July 5, state courts would be mostly shuttered, and more than half of the 80,000 state employees would be ordered not to come to work.


Prisons, state police, state hospitals and other services considered essential would run normally.


"It gives me no joy...no sense of empowerment to do what I am forced to do," Corzine said at a statehouse news conference this morning.


Corzine and legislative leaders are at staunchly at odds over the governor's proposed increase in the sales tax from 6 to 7 percent.


The two sides failed to reach an accord by midnight last night. Without a state budget, the state has no legal authority to spend money.


The constitution does not address what happens if the deadline is not met, and previous budget disagreements have run past the deadline without consequence. However, Corzine's chief counsel, Stuart Rabner, said Corzine was legally obligated to shut the government down today.


Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, who is leading the opposition to the sales tax, said last night that the hike was unnecessary and that the prospect of a shutdown was "unconscionable and indefensible."


Corzine said he hoped to continue discussions today, though he is slated to appear at several ceremonial swearings-in throughout the state.


"I'm much more interested in a resolution than a fight," he said.


The governor has signed an executive order allowing essential services to continue, but says he cannot intervene in the case of the casinos.


The casinos lost a motion in Superior Court yesterday asking the court to declare the monitors "essential employees" who could keep working during a shutdown. Casino officials said they would appeal.


The state stands to lose about $1.3 million in taxes for each day the casinos are shut down, according to figures from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.


Turning away millions of casino customers on the eve of the busiest weekend of the year would "give Atlantic City a black eye," Joe Fusco, executive vice president of government affairs for Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc., told the state Casino Control Commission yesterday.


Fusco noted that casinos would have a short time to notify "hundreds of thousands of patrons flying in from other cities and countries" - as well as the industry's 40,000 employees.

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how the voters of new jersey voted for corzine still baffles me , the guy wasnt very impressive as a senator big shock not a good governor . This guy is legitmately a limo liberal , he has his 100 million in the bank so why not pile on some more taxes on the middle class and working people . all over the country the american tax payer is getting d?cked by republicans and democrats it is time for fiscally responsible people to get elected and time to get rid of a lot of pork barrell politicans who exist on both sides.

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