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Saturday, July 01, 2006

If government were to just go away 

Many utopians - including Marxists, libertarians, and even Ronald Reagan upon occasion - have wondered what would happen if government were to just disappear.

Prairie Pundit links to an article that indicates that New Jersey is about to find out what would happen if government went away.

Unable to break a bitter impasse with the New Jersey Legislature on a new budget, Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed an executive order today that shut down the state’s government for the first time in its history.

The order began a process that over the next few days will see the state close its parks, beaches and, depending on the outcome of a court decision, possibly the 12 Atlantic City casinos.

The effects of the order were felt almost immediately. Department of Motor Vehicle operations were suspended when offices around the state closed at noon Saturday. Horse racing was called off. Road construction projects were halted.

And the New Jersey Lottery, which with $2 billion in annual sales is the fourth-largest source of revenue for the state after income, sales and corporate taxes, was ordered to stop selling tickets tonight....

Essential operations, like the prisons, the state police, child protection services and mental hospitals, will continue to run during the shutdown. But roughly 36,000 of the state’s 80,000 employees were immediately furloughed under the order....

Mr. Corzine, a Democrat, said that he felt compelled to sign the order after he and the Democrat-controlled Legislature could not reach agreement on Mr. Corzine’s proposal to help balance the budget by raising the sales tax to 7 percent from 6 percent.

The governor has argued that the sales-tax increase is needed to close a deficit of roughly $4.5 billion in the state’s $31 billion budget. But a group of legislators, led by Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr., opposed the new tax, arguing that the deficit could be filled with spending cuts and the expansion of existing taxes....

Already Republican lawmakers have begun to seize on the issue. “The Democrats that run the Legislature had 101 days to enact the governor’s proposed budget, modify the budget that was provided to them, or propose one of their own,” said State Senator Robert E. Littell, a Republican from Sussex County, who was referring to the number of days since Mr. Corzine’s budget address on March 21. “Yet they have done neither. Instead, the have subjected the people of New Jersey to a State House version of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.”

On Friday night, about two hours before the deadline, Mr. Roberts appealed to Mr. Corzine to abandon his plan to order the shutdown. He compared the prospect of a shutdown to legislators having “a gun placed to our head.”

Meanwhile, all of the special interests are coming out of the woodwork:

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association is seeking a court order overturning Governor Jon Corzine's shuttering of the state's racing industry as part of a total shutdown of non-essential state government....

Racing and simulcasting in New Jersey is scheduled to cease at 6 p.m. Saturday as the result of Corzine's unprecedented executive order earlier on Saturday to shut down the government....

The New Jersey Casino Association has gained a hearing with the New Jersey Supreme Court on Sunday at 4 p.m. to keep the state's 12 casinos in business.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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