In the state of New Jersey, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo has announced he has plans to create a measure to explain, in detail, how the revenues from the gaming venues in the north of New Jersey will be utilized. This will include information on aid for senior programs as well as public space funding and improvements to transportation.
Caputo will be detailing in the measure just how state funding derived from the new casinos will be used. Senior programs to benefit will include Meals on Wheels, Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled as well as Senior Freeze. Recovery initiatives for Atlantic City are also in the mix.
According to Caputo, transparency and clarity are critical for the residents of New Jersey and every party involved in the casino debate of North Jersey, especially as the November elections draw near. Negative and positive opinions have been reported on the issue and according to Caputo, it is necessary for the intent of legislature for funding from the casinos to be spelt out definitively.
Caputo wants voters to be clear on what they will be casting a vote for this November. He wants voters to know where legislature stands and with the resolution, feels that the intent for the state portion of funding will be in writing and can be agreed upon by each house.
The intent of legislature will be expressed by the Senate Concurrent Resolution No I of 2016 after being approved by the Assembly Concurrent Resolution. The resolution proposes that an amendment be made to the state constitution to authorize casino gambling in the northern portion of New Jersey and will be considered by voters in the election this November.
Details of how state funds will be distributed after being brought in from northern casino will be provided with the concurrent resolution. The information will include how funding will be provided for public spaces as well as transportation, including improvements to infrastructure.
Information will be provided on how senior citizens will benefit from funding via reductions of property tax and programs by the counties. Funding will be provided for efforts of recovery for Atlantic City via programs to help with finding employment for individuals who lost their job from working at casino properties of the city that are now closed.
Funds will go towards promotional support for Atlantic City to be a destination resort with grants as well as loans offered for the promotion of development of non-gaming amenities such as attractions and destination programming. Programs will be created to aid as well as encourage thoroughbred and standard bred industries.
Also to be included are guidelines that will explain how the location of the casino venues will be chosen as well as how operators will be selected for licensing. The 15th of September marks the date the resolution will be introduced.
Additional reporting by Lars Jones
On Tuesday, opposition forces pushed back on the Assemblyman’s efforts. Trenton’s Bad Bet, a group partially funded by Genting, owners of Resorts World, a New York state virtual lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens released a statement from Bill Cortese, executive director of Trenton’s Bad Bet that read in part: “Trenton politicians are doing what they always do, attempting to color the story in an effort to cover up how this referendum is intended to help special interest groups,” Cortese said. “How can Assemblyman Caputo deliver a detailed plan for revenue distribution on nonexistent tax rates and when no real economic examination has ever taken place? The numbers politicians are throwing around appear to be pulled completely out of thin air.”
The group’s statement went on to say that the concurrent resolution placing the casino referendum on the ballot makes no mention of the tax rate or definite revenue from North Jersey casinos. The tax rate will be set in the enabling legislation, commonly passed after a referendum passes. Senate President, Steve Sweeney has already said he may not want to introduce enabling legislation until after the November vote, according to the media release.