Home Seaside Heights & Seaside Park N.J. Government Shutdown: Island Beach State Park Closed; Here’s What Else is...

N.J. Government Shutdown: Island Beach State Park Closed; Here’s What Else is Open and Shut Down

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Island Beach State Park (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Island Beach State Park (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Beachgoers looking to spend a long Independence Day weekend at Island Beach State Park will be out of luck, at least on Saturday.

The park is closed due to the shutdown of New Jersey state government that occurred at midnight Friday, after Republican Gov. Christie Christie and the leaders of the Democratic-controlled legislature failed to hammer out a deal on using surplus revenue from Horizon Blue Cross-Blue Shield to fund drug treatment programs. Christie wants to measure included in the budget, while the Democratic leader does not.

The park closure, as well as Liberty State Park in Jersey City, will likely be the two highest-profile closures, given the fact that many have taken off for a long weekend leading up to July 4. Barnegat Light State Park will also be closed. Unlike the last shutdown, which occurred in 2006 under Gov. Jon Corzine, Atlantic City casinos will remain open during the shutdown. In 2006, gambling operations ceased, but in the years since, policies were changed to keep the casinos open. Municipal beaches will all remain open.

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Christie has called for a special legislative session at 11 a.m. Saturday to attempt to reach a compromise, though Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has held steadfast in his opposition to using the Horizon funding for drug treatment as part of the budget process, calling is a separate issue. There are also some legislators angry about a budgetary plan to use lottery funds toward the state’s beleaguered pension system instead of education, for which it was originally earmarked.

“The Governor will be here early tomorrow to continue to work for the people of New Jersey,” Christie’s spokesman, Brian Murray, said in a late-night press release.

Christie said he has not asked to speak before the legislative session that he called. In New Jersey, the governor has constitutional power to compel the legislature to meet, which Christie did by way of an executive order issued at the midnight deadline.

Christie’s office gave a rundown of which government agencies, exactly, would be shut down and which would remain active.

  • Department of Environmental Protection: All state parks, recreation areas, forests, and historic sites, including Island Beach State Park and Liberty State Park, will be closed; all public events within state parks and historic sites will be cancelled. The following will also be closed: permitting offices for Air, Historic Preservation, Land Use, Site Remediation, Solid Waste, and Water Supply; Green Acres and Blue Acres offices; Office of Dispute Resolution; Office of Permit Coordination; most of the Division of Fish & Wildlife (Wildlife Management Areas and on-line services will not be impacted); NJ Geologic Survey; and Rebuild by Design projects.
  • Department of Transportation: Construction will continue, as will emergency repairs and some roadside safety services. The rest areas on I-295 in Deepwater, Salem County and on I-80 in Knowlton, Warren County, will be closed. 
  • New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission: All MVC agencies and inspection stations will be closed. Online services will still be available.
  • Department of Law & Public Safety:  Juvenile Justice Commission operations, State Medical Examiner Offices, and other public safety operations will continue, but some administrative offices will be closed.
  • Department of Health: The public will not be able to obtain copies of birth and marriage certificates, or copies of adoptees’ original birth certificates. No new certifications or renewals will be issued for EMTs, paramedics or Certified Nursing Assistants. 
  • New Jersey Department of Labor: Unemployment Insurance and disability determination services will remain operational. Temporary Disability Insurance claims, Wage and Hour claims, and Family Leave Insurance claims may be filed, but they will not be processed. One Stop Career Centers (state not county services) will be closed; Workers Compensation Courts will be closed. Division of Vocational and Rehabilitation Services will be closed.
  • Department of Children and Families: Child abuse hotlines, protection services and response teams will continue to operate. Schools for children withspecial needs will remain open.
  • Department of Military and Veterans Affairs: Veteran’s Haven North and South will remain in operation and National Guard will remain on call. 
  • Department of Banking and Insurance: All offices will be closed except the IURO (health insurance internal appeals program).
  • Department of Community Affairs: Inspections related to construction codes, fire safety, fairs and fireworks displays will continue, however some public services will not be available.
  • Department of Corrections: Prisons and halfway houses will remain operational, although some inmate services will be impacted.
  • Department of Education: Katzenbach School will remain open. Phone help desks, customer service, and all other related staff-based assistance functions will be unavailable and all core public functions will be closed.
  • Economic Development Authority:  EDA will not process any payments to businesses from any program (such as the Business Employment Incentive Program) which funding source needs to be authorized by the FY 2018 Appropriations Act.
  • Department of State: The travel and tourism welcome centers will be closed.
  • Department of the Treasury: July 1 pension checks have been processed and mailed. Taxation call centers and walk-in facilities will be closed. The Division of Risk Management will be closed, however the scheduling of medical appointments, treatments and services for injured workers will remain ongoing.  The Division of Pensions and Benefits will be closed, although it will continue payment of health provider claims and life claims, and continue to process changes to family status for health benefits.
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  • Mac

    Since Christie and his clan will be the only people enjoying the Island Beach State Park paradise this holiday weekend, I think the conditions will be ideal for me to safely try out my new drone. I mean, in a ten mile area of barren sand, and only a handful of people, what could go wrong?

  • baylady

    This is such incredible bullcrap! Shutting down the government?? Really?? What the hell is going on here? Who is responsible for this? Why can’t our state be solvent? It can’t be because NJ doesn’t collect enough taxes! We pay more taxes than any other state so why is this happening?? It’s corruption and theft and fraud, what else could it be? smh….

    • Mac

      What else could it be? I’m thinking the voters indifference to the values, purposes and powers of their votes. Whining, complaining, picketing, carrying signs, and staging protests for 15 seconds of news coverage means nothing to a politician that has no reason to fear he/she will ever be voted out of office. And as the record clearly shows, most elected politicians either retire from office after years of being reelected, often unchallenged, or die in office before being able to cash in their lifetime accumulated winning Pick 6 lottery-sized tax-payer funded rewards you have already unnecessarily gifted to them.

      • baylady

        Which is why we need terms limits!

        • Mac

          That won’t help much. It’s not the name on the ballot that hurts us the most. That name is nothing more than the label of the current pocket that shares the spoils with his/her master, aka party boss, and could be either a lifetime political hack of corrupt opportunity, or someone new each election that has the support of the same party boss.

          In NJ, until you break the backs of the party bosses, nothing is going to get better for the public. And it’s easy to do. The best place to start is to eliminate family health care benefits, pensions, pension credits and other such perks for elected part-time public service, with in NJ represents almost every elected position, including Senators and Assembly members who are so privileged that they get to cash in hundreds of thousands of dollars of gifted benefits annually that they can’t use by state law. (Talk around being able to reduce the budget by a billion or two annually, just for starters.) I mean, it’s simple common sense that allowing an elected part-time public official to be able to regulate his personal family health care benefits that he oversees for everyone else also isn’t in the best interests of an intelligent public, especially when such benefits were designed to enhance the value of full time employment.

          • baylady

            I think term limits will help a lot but that is my personal opinion. We have 800,000 people on the pension rolls and the state hasn’t paid one dime into the fund for 10 years!! Every tax paying citizen in NJ is responsible for $26K of the pension budget that is now broke! This is beyond corruption! NJ is in terrible shape and now the dems want to declare it a sanctuary state too, causing our taxes to go higher when they won’t get federal funds to fund that status. I think the thing to do is to get the hell out of NJ! It’s way too corrupt! The taxpayers will go broke while the fat cats get fatter. It’s disgusting!

          • Mac

            In a state as hopelessly corrupt as NJ, the only people to blame are the voters themselves. With that said, we now know NJ will never change. Wiseguy little generals consider it a personal honor to cut off their noses to spite their faces, and in NJ, honoring traditions is the only way of life, as the record clearly, and sadly, shows.

  • Emil Kotschessa

    And some how he will find away to blame it on the state workers

  • Darcy

    Crook 23cent Christie at his best! This guy is horrible! Close the beaches on the 4th of July!!!! LETS GET RID OF ALL POLITICANS AND HABE BUSINESS PEOPLE RUN THIS NOW CORRUPT SYSTEM!!!!

  • Darcy

    Have we all had enough? 23 cent additional gas tax? No property tax reform? $300M gold dome spending spree? Bridgegate? Highest taxed state in the nation? And now COLOSED BEACHES ON THE 4th of July? Get rid of these crooks in Trenton and consider letting business people run NJ!

  • Goodgrief

    I wish somebody would list the exact savings from closing state owned beaches.
    Stated in dollars and cents in an easy to read way.

    • Mac

      There is no such thing as ‘savings’ in any political ego trip. Christie is simply sitting on the beach laughing at all of you. I mean, he knows that between now and January, there’s not a thing you can do about it except to ‘make his day.’

      • Goodgrief

        if the lifeguards, janitors and garbage people were off there had to be some savings. That is my point…how much and was it worth anything?

        • Mac

          I doubt we saved any money. It would seem to me that the cost of extra security to keep people off the beach would cost more than the personnel needed to contain the crowds who paid a fee for those services.

          • Goodgrief

            That makes sense. Just wish it was listed out there by the govt for all to read.