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New Jersey Governor, Legislature Reach Budget Deal

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and state lawmakers reached a budget agreement Thursday, ending a six-day shutdown of the government and Atlantic City's state-inspected casinos.

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  • PROTESTERS:

    Do your job! Do your job!

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    There was pressure on Democratic lawmakers all day long to make a deal and end New Jersey's six-day-long government shutdown. State workers rallied in front of the capitol in Trenton, today, sending their elected officials a message.

  • ROBERT MCDEVITT, Local Union President:

    We demand that the leaders in the Democratic assembly stop playing games with our lives, put us back to work, and vote on a damn budget!

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    About 45,000 of the state's employees have been out of work since the government shut down early Saturday morning, after lawmakers missed the deadline to approve Governor Jon Corzine's $31 billion budget.

    With a $4.5 billion shortfall and no money to pay the bills, Corzine closed non-essential government services. Earlier today, the governor urged those Democratic colleagues who opposed his plan to raise the sales tax a percentage point to come up with their own solution.

  • JON CORZINE:

    Let's put New Jerseyans back to work and let them go on about their everyday lives. Let's stop digging the whole deeper. Pass a budget. Let me sign a budget. Let me repeat. Pass a budget. Let me sign a budget. Thank you.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The most visible signs of the shutdown were in Atlantic City, where the normally clattering casinos were closed yesterday, for the first time since gambling was legalized 28 years ago.

    JOSEPH CORBO, President, Casino Association of New Jersey: We're losing millions of dollars a day, without getting into exact numbers, but our employees are also losing, in the aggregate, millions of dollars a day.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The gambling inspectors, all government employees, were furloughed. And, as a result, 36,000 casino employees were put out of work as well. So were state employees at the Department of Motor Vehicles, inspection stations and courthouses. Those actions took New Jersey residents by surprise.

  • MAN:

    I had no clue. I thought they were bluffing. I really did. The casinos, Motor Vehicle, I just thought they were bluffing.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    At the announcement of the budget deal late this afternoon, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts acknowledged the problems the people of New Jersey encountered as a result of the shutdown.

    JOSEPH ROBERTS JR. (D), New Jersey State Assembly Speaker: But we do owe the people of this state an apology. We have disrupted their lives. We have caused hardship. This — this shutdown, the budget impasse has had an awful consequence for the people in our state.

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