NJ budget: The winners and losers

Posted: Updated:
TRENTON -

Gov. Chris Christie officially approved New Jersey’s new spending plan after a three-day government shutdown.

The state budget was approved after tense weeks of negotiation. The drama left some residents in New Jersey faring better than others.

The shutdown meant that Island Beach State Park was closed during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Grumpy’s Tackle reel technician Frank Zappella says that his store took the shutdown hard.

“It was tough. Our business was off 70 percent for those three days,” he says.

Locals say that traffic is slowly picking back up on the island after the beaches reopened. But instead of getting credit for ending the shutdown, the governor is taking heat for signing the budget after he and his family spent the day on the beach.

Photos of Christie and his family on the empty beach on Island Beach State Park went viral. Many residents say that they were angry because they had to change their Independence Day plans.

“It was like spitting in the faces of all the citizens, which really upset everybody,” Zappella says.  “I understand budget impasses and the whole political machine but when you do something like that it’s unforgivable.”

Some New Jersey school districts benefitted greatly from the budget. State Democrats agreed to an education funding plan adding more than $100 million in new funding. More than 440 school districts will see increases starting next school year.

But some districts, like Toms River and Brick Township, will see funding cuts. Officials in those districts say that it will hurt.

In terms of line item vetoes, New Jersey Policy Perspective says that the governor altered language changes that would have restored "heat-and-eat benefits" for low-income families. But overall Democrats saw $350 million added into the budget to go to their priorities.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari says that he will soon introduce legislation to keep state parks open for seven days in the event of any future government shutdown.

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