Several States Grapple with Partisan Standoffs, Forcing Government Shutdowns and Unresolved Budget Deficits

Illustration of the crisis concept with a businessman in panic

Maine, New Jersey, and Chicago Are Among the States Facing Dire Budget Futures

Republicans and Democrats face off in state budget legislatures across the country, forcing two partial state government shutdowns over the weekend in New Jersey and Maine.

The stories are not all too different, with a legislature run by Democrats butting heads against Republican governors.

In Maine, the principle players were State House Speaker Sara Gideon, who is a Democrat, and Republican Governor Paul LePage. The state budget was unable to pass the legislature while Gideon and LePage engaged in a public spat over it.

“The Maine people are taxed enough. I will not tax them anymore and in my budget overall taxes were decreased,” LePage said in a statement. “They should not have to pay more taxes just because the Speaker of the House and the Senate President want to go home for the weekend.”

“I am angered and deeply saddened by the failure of the legislature to pass a budget,” Gideon released in her own statement. “Make no mistake, this shutdown was not necessary. And make no mistake, I will continue to do everything in my power to end it.”

In New Jersey, the story isn’t all that different, except for a few departures in details. Governor Chris Christie (Republican) faced off against state Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (Democrat) over the state budget, which led to a government shutdown over the weekend.

Christie, however, made international news when he appeared on one of the beaches that had been shutdown due to the politicians’ inability to pass a state budget. The image of the governor and his family enjoying a day on the beach that was closed to the public has made the rounds across the country.

Meanwhile, states continue to languish in budget deficits that partisan infighting is not helping. Illinois is perhaps the worst example of this partisan divide, as the state has not had a budget for three years. It, too, is controlled by a Republican governor and a Democratic state house.

Illinois also faces $15.0 billion in unpaid bills.

Sources

Maine State Legislature,” Maine Government, July 2017.

New Jersey, Maine shut down amid spending disputes,” The Hill, July 1, 2017.

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