Do You Care If NJ Government Shuts Down This Year? [AUDIO]
What's the worst that could happen if the State shuts down because lawmakers and the Governor can't agree on a budget deal before the midnight June 30 constitutional deadline?
The answer to that question depends on your unique viewpoint. If you're in State Government it could be that people might not notice the shutdown and start asking, "Why do we need so much government in the first place?"
In 2006, the state shut down as then-Governor Jon Corzine and his fellow Democrats in the legislature fought over Corzine's proposal to increase the State sales tax from 6% to 7%. Lottery ticket sales stopped. Motor vehicles agencies closed. Car inspections were suspended. State run parks and beaches were off limits. Parts of the judiciary were halted and, most importantly casinos were forced to close.
Non-essential government employees were sent home, but they were later paid for their time off when an agreement was reached about a week later.
A law passed quickly after the 2006 shutdown allows casinos to stay open in the event of another budget stalemate that goes past the deadline.
Sure, the other above-mentioned services would again be on hold in another shutdown, but you do have options. Mega millions tickets could still be purchased in neighboring states. If you get your license renewed or car inspected now, Motor vehicle Commission office closures probably wouldn't impact you. There are plenty of non-State-run parks and beaches you could visit.
"Most people can probably get along for a considerable amount of time before they notice that the state is shut down," says Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Woolley. "I think a lot of New Jerseyans wouldn't miss the State government, at least for week."
Woolley says it's only when checks stop coming in that people get hurt. Those could include reimbursements for hospital services and non-profit organizations that are subsidized by the State.
Bad news for non-essential state workers; you are likely to be sent home if the State shuts down and it's highly unlikely Governor Chris Christie would decide you should be paid after a deal is reached.
Woolley says, "Most people would be quick to point out that government can be cut back and people can get along without it more than they think."