New Jersey Senate and Assembly Struggle to Agree On Single Proposal for Casino Expansion Vote
An important vote taking place in New Jersey over the coming days will decide whether or not Casino expansion will be allowed outside the borders of Atlantic City. The only problem is that the senate and assembly both have separate plans for what the proposed terms should be.
According to the Senate’s version, two new casinos would be owned by existing Atlantic City casino operators and would send 50% of their initial earnings to Atlantic City to make up for projected losses. With the assembly’s plan, only one of the casinos would need to be owned by an existing casino operator and that one would only send 35% to Atlantic City.
Currently, both Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto are standing at an impasse. The head of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce has urged both sides to come up with one unified plan that they can put on the ballot.
Jim Kirkos, the chamber’s president, also stated that “With the impasse of the current versions of the Senate and Assembly bills to expand casino gaming in NJ, the MRC is urging our legislators to find further compromise.”
This coming Thursday, the Senate plans to vote on the Atlantic City aid plan, some of which has already been approved by the assembly. One of the topics on which to be voted includes allowing the city’s casinos to make the aformentioned payments instead of paying taxes for the next 15 years. This would give the casinos a set amount to pay as they try and get back on their feet. It would also stop them from attempting to appeal their taxes, which some casinos have been doing over the past few years.
Another issue that would be covered is redirecting casino investment taxes to help pay Atlantic City’s total debt, as well as removing the Atlantic City Alliance, which has been marketing the resort around the country.
After going through the Senate, the bills will be sent to Gov. Chris Christie, who has already vetoed an earlier proposal. For the casino expansion plan to be passed, a consensus needs to be made on which proposal to go with before the initial meetings take place. Only then can it be included with the Atlantic City aid plan before being sent onto the Gov. Christie.
Image source: capitalnewyork.com