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Christie urges state takeover of Atlantic City

Glenn Townes | 4/11/2016, 6:26 p.m.
Governor Chris Christie sharply criticized state lawmakers for failing to reach an expeditious agreement to save Atlantic City from financial ...
Atlantic City DOAC.COM

Governor Chris Christie sharply criticized state lawmakers for failing to reach an expeditious agreement to save Atlantic City from financial ruin--the former presidential hopeful said the state must takeover of the day-to-day operations of the resort town.

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Chris Christie

At a recent press conference in Trenton, Christie criticized state legislators, including New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, for failing to come to an agreement and accept a proposal that would allow the state to manage the finances of the near financially insolvent city.

“The city has failed to pursue any outsourcing services for even the most basic municipal services,” Christie said. “The city refused to do any of it, which would have resulted in substantial savings for the city.” Previously, Christie said the city has had years of gross financial mismanagement that has brought it to the current crisis level.

Prieto dismissed the criticism. In a statement to the press, Prieto said he won't put the state takeover proposal up for a vote until Christie amends a provision that would allow the governor to cancel union contracts---unions represents thousands of casino workers in Atlantic City and would be in jeopardy of being eliminated under a state takeover. Also, at the center of the debacle is a bill to expand casino gaming to other parts of the state—particularly North Jersey.

Earlier this year, state legislators, headed by Democratic State Senate President Stephen Sweeney—spearheaded a move to build a casino in North Jersey---potentially adding to the financial woes of Atlantic City. In addition, Christie said a bill to allow alternative tax payments for casinos is included in the current state proposal and accused Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop of siding with Prieto in hindering the legislative process of “saving Atlantic City” and being more concerned about his own political agenda. Fulop is being touted as a key Democratic gubernatorial contender to replace Christie as New Jersey's next governor.

Lastly, Christie has refused to extend an emergency loan of about $8.5 million to AC officials in order to keep the city up and running. “The {state}credit card has been canceled and cut up,” he said. Dozens of essential city workers—including police and firefights have volunteered to report for work between April 8 and May 2 without being paid on time because city coffers will be depleted until new state property tax revenue payments are credited in May.