Democratic legislative leaders plan to meet with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy again on Friday in an effort to reach a deal to get a new state budget enacted by the midnight Saturday deadline.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin did not indicate how much progress was made at a more than two hour negotiating session with the Governor on Thursday.
“All I can say is we had a good meeting and we’re looking forward to getting back at it.”
Earlier in the day the Governor met with his cabinet to make contingency plans. He said he hasn’t decided whether he’d take action to shut down state government if a budget isn’t enacted by the deadline.
“If we had a game plan I’d promise you I’d tell you what it was. We’re war gaming a whole series of different scenarios. But I’m still optimistic. We’re still trying to get a deal done.”
The Governor and legislative leaders have been at odds on which taxes to raise to provide the revenue for the budget.
Island Beach State Park, where former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was photographed on a beach chair during last year’s state government shutdown, could be closed to the public again if the current budget stalemate continues.
But there will still be plenty of other beaches that stay open.
New Jersey Tourism Industry Association executive director Joe Simonetta says that only New Jersey beaches with state employees would be closed if there is a government shutdown.
“Of our 127 miles of New Jersey coastal beaches over 100 miles of that are open because they managed by municipalities and are not a victim if you will of a shutdown.”
A shutdown caused by a budget dispute in 2006 closed Atlantic City casinos for three days because the state inspectors who regulate their operations were deemed non-essential personnel and were not permitted to work.
A 2008 law allows casinos to stay open during the first 7 days of a government shutdown with the hopes that a budget impasse would be resolved in that amount of time.