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New Jersey May Face a Shutdown

June 30, 2003|From Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey lawmakers, deadlocked over the state budget with a deadline looming tonight, have told state workers to monitor news reports to learn whether they should report for work in case of a government shutdown Tuesday.

Aides to Gov. James E. McGreevey cautioned Sunday that all nonessential government services must cease if no agreement is reached by July 1.

"Beyond those core functions related to public safety, the government would not be open," said Micah Rasmussen, a spokesman for the governor.

State police, prison employees, medical personnel and Division of Youth and Family Services caseworkers would be among those who would report to work, Rasmussen said.

Lawmakers made little progress during the second day of special weekend sessions, and a government shutdown seemed more likely with each passing hour. Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for pushing New Jersey's government to the brink of closing.

Democrats charge that Republicans have refused to negotiate seriously, appearing determined to shut down state offices to make a point.

Republicans counter that Democrats were unwilling to back down from $800 million in new taxes and fees.

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