The state Senate of New Jersey has sent a new package of legislation to Governor Chris Christie for approval that if passed, would benefit Atlantic City and the struggling casinos as well as educational programs. The package consists of five bills, the most important of which would allow the eight remaining casinos of Atlantic City make payments in way of taxes on a 15 year time frame. This would give the casino operators a flat fee instead of having large payments each year.
Other measures in the package would bring new aid for state education for Atlantic City as well as mandate retirement benefits and health insurance for individuals employed at casinos. An additional change would be the alternate investment taxes would be placed towards the debt of AC instead of being used for projects of redevelopment. The Atlantic City Alliance would be eliminated and the $30 million budget of the former group each year would be used in other ways to benefit the struggling city.
According to Steve Sweeney, the Senate President, the plan will help to address the immediate fiscal crisis triggered by the multiple casino closings in Atlantic City as well as the downturn of the gaming industry. The package should bring much-needed stability and bring a commonality to the revenue earned by the city.
The new bill package comes at a strenuous time in Atlantic City as four of the 12 casinos closed down in 2014 and officials of the state are considering the option to allow voters to decide if casinos should be allowed in other areas of New Jersey.