Today Governor Corzine was forced to sign anwhich shuts down non-essential government services. The New Jersey Constitution requires that a balanced budget be in place before start of the fiscal year. When no agreement was reached by July 1st, the governor bit the bullet and closed up shop. The shut down includes the furlough of about 45,000 employees in “non-essential” departments and will also affect casinos which are state regulated. The casino industry is the shut down in court.
Governor Corzine, in a statement, assured the people of New Jersey that essential services will not be part of the shut down:
First and foremost, let me assure residents of our great state that essential services will be provided for the duration of this emergency. We have been working on contingencies and we are prepared. The emergency powers of the Disaster Control Act convey to the Governor the authority to do just that. That includes personnel and facilities involved in providing for the health, safety, and welfare of our people, as well as for the protection of property. Agencies like the State Police, the Division of Youth and Family Services, the Department of Corrections, and substantial parts of the Department of Human Services will see only a very limited impact.
He expressed his dissatisfaction with the necessary move:
It gives me no joy, no satisfaction, no sense of empowerment to do what I am forced to do today. And there will be people who do not receive the attention that they rightfully deserve from our state government. I don’t like it. Others don’t. And we will do everything we can to bring this to a short conclusion. I am absolutely committed to signing a budget that is fair, a budget that is honest, and a budget that restores stability and integrity to New Jersey’s finances.
I do not know a thing about New Jersey’s government or politics, but what if the residents of that state decide that they no longer need those “non-essential” services? Maybe, just maybe, that state could have as their reality truly limited government.