Atlantic City is still awaiting a rescue plan, with casinos and officials ready for something to happen in way of aid. Vincent Prieto, the New Jersey Assembly Speaker, will see his plan for rescuing the city from debt go up for a vote this Thursday, but it is most likely the vote will not result in a resolution for the city.
Prieto and State Senate President Steve Sweeney cannot seem to come to an agreement on how the city should be cared for, which has kept Atlantic City from receiving the aid they need. Sweeney has an aid measure on the table as well, one that is backed by the Governor of the state, Chris Christie. Prieto will not support the Senate bill, largely in part because the measure would allow New Jersey to break union contracts.
The bill created by Prieto would create a commission group that would establish benchmarks for Atlantic City based on performance. The city would have to meet these benchmarks over a period of two years before a full takeover by the state would take place. The bill requires 41 votes to pass in Assembly.
With the Senate version created by Sweeney, the city would have 130 days to get finances in shape before the state would take over. Christie is only showing support for the Senate measure, stating he would only sign this bill without changes.
If Prieto is able to see his measure pass an Assembly vote, Sweeney is most likely not going to post the bill for a vote in the Senate. Christie will most likely not sign the measure, so Atlantic City would be back to square one whether the bill passes or does not. If the measure were not to pass, it is not certain that he would post the bill by the Senate for a vote in Assembly.
Each bill has a provision that will allow the eight casinos of the city to make a payment instead of taxes. In return, the casinos will not appeal the tax assessments made by the city. The benefit for the casinos would be knowing that the annual expenses would not change and the city would not have to deal with tax appeals which had a negative effect on the finances of the city.
The back and forth is only hurting the city which is about to go broke. Earlier this week, officials barely were able to make a bond payment of $1.8 million, narrowly missing going into default.