The political standoff that shut down New Jersey state beaches and parks over the weekend began in February with a signature laugh line delivered by Gov. Chris Christie.
Mr. Christie said during his budget address that he thought Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, would turn over to the state millions of dollars a year, initially to finance his favorite social cause, battling opioid addiction. The lawmakers chuckled at the thought.
“Why wouldn’t they?” Mr. Christie responded in mock disbelief. “You laugh — so cynical.”
It was vintage Chris Christie, a thinly veiled threat to get his way, this time by putting forward a questionable plan that would seem to be anathema to his fellow Republicans. It was an approach that had worked many times — to cow the teachers’ union or opponents of his court nominees.
Now, with Mr. Christie’s punches weakened by scandal and support among voters sagging, the State Assembly is refusing to go along. Lawmakers rejected his effort to link passage of the state budget to his plan to force Horizon to hand over $300 million of its roughly $2.4 billion reserve.
The resulting shutdown will enter its third day on Monday.
The statehouse was mostly empty on Sunday, and Mr. Christie said he expected the government to remain closed at least through Monday. He sent a letter to lawmakers on Sunday demanding special legislative sessions on Monday morning. Also on Monday, Robert A. Marino, the chief executive of Horizon, was scheduled to meet with state officials in Trenton.Read More...
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