By David Madden
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (CBS) — With Atlantic City’s government teetering on the brink of running out of money, the casinos are chiming in on the debate.READ MORE: 6 Pedestrians Hit By Driver While Leaving Chester Church, Police Say
The Casino Association doesn’t normally venture into political fights like the one going on between the Christie Administration, the State Assembly Speaker and the Atlantic City Mayor. But in a printed statement, the group is calling on all sides to find a solution “to avoid material negative consequences.”
Translation: bad publicity that could cause people to think twice about going to Atlantic City this summer.
While not taking sides, the group urges Speaker Vincent Prieto to post the Christie takeover bill if he cannot get enough support for his own alternative in short order. Without some action, the association suggests there could be “real economic consequences for businesses and residents throughout the state.”READ MORE: 21-Year-Old Dead, 2 Injured During Saturday Night Shootings Across Philadelphia
KYW Newsradio has requested an interview with a representative of the Casino Association.
The eight casinos are considered as part of the solution in both packages, since there’s a bill tied to the proposed state takeover of city government that allows casinos to make payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, totaling more than 120 million dollars a year for a 10 year period. That infusion of cash is seen as one way to stabilize the city’s financial situation, But Governor Christie has insisted he will not sign that PILOT bill without authority for the state to immediately take over most of the city’s governmental functions as a way to curb spending.
Prieto and Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian have opposed the takeover plan, which has already cleared the state senate in bipartisan fashion. They fear Christie will drastically alter municipal union contracts and leave city residents with little say about their future going forward.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Kicks Off First Parade Celebrating All Winter Holidays Following First Omicron COVID Case
The speaker has proposed separate legislation that sets up a panel to monitor city spending, but staves off any control over union contracts for two years. Christie says that would postpone any action until he is out of office in 2018, and could lead to no changes made in union contracts whatsoever.