As New Jersey voters prepare to go to the polls next month to decide whether to approve a constitutional amendment permitting two new casinos for the north of the state, legislation detailing exactly how any future tax revenues derived from the proposed venues would be utilized has passed through an influential government body.
According to a report from The New York Observer newspaper, Thursday saw the New Jersey General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee approve measure ACR-206, which explicitly lays out how funds derived from casinos in the northern part of the state would be used and includes aid to specific seniors programs and funding for public space and transportation improvements alongside Atlantic City recovery initiatives.
“Transparency and clarity is critical for residents and all parties involved in the north Jersey casino debate, especially, as we move closer to November’s election,” said New Jersey General Assembly member Ralph Caputo, a co-sponsor of ACR-206. “We have seen and heard many different opinions on this issue, both negative and positive. However, it is important that the legislature’s intent for any funding coming out of a casino built in the north is spelled out clearly and as definitively as possible so that voters fully understand what they will be casting their vote for in November. With this resolution, our intent for the state portion of the funding from casinos in the northern part of the state will now be in writing and have an opportunity to be agreed upon by both houses.”
Lawmakers are now set to wait until voters in the eastern state cast their ballot on the New Jersey Allowance For Casinos In Two Additional Counties Amendment, which is also known as Public Question One, on November 8 before moving forward with ACR-206. Should voters approve the constitutional amendment, lawmakers would be tasked with making provisions for two northern counties to have a casino each with the proposed $4 billion Liberty Rising Resort Spa And Casino project for Jersey City set to be among the considered runners.
ACR-206 additionally explains that New Jersey legislators intend to establish a tax rate on revenues for any new casinos that would be considerably higher than that applied to their Atlantic City counterparts while being tiered dependent on the amount of investment. The measure moreover includes various guidelines for choosing a location, selecting licensed operators and administering programs funded from state revenues.
“This ambitious casino expansion plan is about far more than promoting gaming in New Jersey,” said New Jersey General Assembly member Sheila Oliver, the other co-sponsor of ACR-206. “Seniors, displaced Atlantic City workers, our thoroughbred horsing industry and our transportation infrastructure are just some of the constituents and programs that will benefit from the influx in new revenues that this proposal will generate. Voters should be aware of what is at stake when they cast their vote for this new course for our state.”