Lawmakers Ready to Vote on Atlantic City Bailout
New Jersey lawmakers are getting ready to vote on a $60 million bailout plan for Atlantic City. The proposed measure would buy the troubled casino town a few months of operating costs and avoid a takeover by the state government.
If approved, the plan would cover Atlantic City’s operating costs for five months, but it comes with a catch. Once the five months are up, city planners are required to present the state with a plan to balance their budget within five years.
It’s an extremely tall order for a city that’s facing new competition on all sides, but it’s one that Atlantic City politicians are ready to embrace. That’s because the bailout plan allows them to retain collective bargaining rights and more importantly, avoids a takeover of the local government by the state.
In an interview with NewsWorks.org, Atlantic City Mayor, Don Guardian lauded the deal saying:
I don’t believe that we need a state takeover, I didn’t think it was going to be effective. And I think, now, this type of partnership with the state helping us with finances but holding our feet to the fire to reduce our costs is how we move forward.
Guardian isn’t kidding when he says the state is, “holding our feet to the fire.” If Atlantic City is unable to balance its budget within the five year period, its city government will be obliged to relinquish control to the state government.
If approved, the deal will head to Governor Chris Christie’s desk where he is expected to sign it into law.