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Chris Christie Signs Budget Bill, Ending New Jersey Government Shutdown

After a three day state of emergency and government shutdown, on Tuesday morning New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a compromise budget bill ending the state shutdown that became an embarrassment for the outgoing governor when he was photographed lounging on a beach that had been closed to the public for the holiday weekend. According to Reuters, Christie ended the state shutdown by signing a $34.7 billion budget measure that included a controversial provision reshaping the state's largest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, which covers 3.8  million people in the state.

I’m pleased the Legislature has reached an agreement which fulfills their obligation of delivering a budget.

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie)

Christie said all state parks and beaches would be open on Tuesday for the Fourth of July holiday and state offices would be open as usual on Wednesday, and added that he was happy a resolution had been reached on the budget impasse, but saddened it came three days late.

Today I signed my final balanced budget, delivering 2 full terms of unprecedented pension stability, fiscal responsibility & tax relief.

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie)

"This bill is a long overdue significant reform that will have a lasting impact on New Jersey residents," he said before signing it into law.

Separately, NJ State Senate President Steve Sweeney told a news conference: "None of this was easy." Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto also chimed in, saying the agreement to end the partial government shutdown was reached after long talks in "crisis" mode on Monday with Horizon and state legislators.

As noted yesterday, while Christie was largely a non participant in the bduget standoff, he was ridiculed after posted photos of the Republican governor and his family sunbathing on a beach that had been closed to the public over the holiday weekend due to the budget standoff.

More than 30,000 state workers who were furloughed on Monday, would get back to their jobs as a result of the new budget.

Elsewhere, just like Jersey, the state of Maine ended also a 3-day government shutdown on Tuesday when Governor Paul LePage signed a budget for the fiscal years 2018 and 2019 following late-night negotiations with legislative leaders, the governor's office said in a statement. Previously, members of Maine's State Employees Association rallied outside the State House to demand a budget deal from lawmakers and Republican Governor Paul LePage.

While NJ and Maine are back to spending money they don't have, about 10 U.S. states still do not have budgets for the fiscal year that began on July 1, including Illinois, which is in its third year without an enacted budget.

Earlier today, the Illinois Senate voted to approve the final budget bill passed by the House, however Illinois Governor has vowed he will veto any spending bill, and it was unclear if and how his opinion would be overruled.