NJ government shut down amid budget standoff

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(CNN) — New Jersey’s state government was forced to shut down on Friday night after Gov. Chris Christie and state lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a budget.

Christie signed a state of emergency permitting the operation of essential government services such as state police, correctional facilities, welfare services, state hospitals and treatment facilities. Also shielded from the shutdown are New Jersey transit, the state lottery, casinos and racetracks.

The shutdown — which comes amid the summer vacation season — will force the closure of tourist attractions such as state parks, recreational areas, historic sites, state beaches and Liberty State Park.

Christie said it is necessary to protect the “well-being of the people of New Jersey” as he attempts to persuade legislators to craft “a fiscally responsible budget.”