Mazzeo’s Atlantic City rescue bill emerges from Appropriations

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Alert to the 2015 general election in LD2 as Atlantic City staggers into another year amid debates on what to do about the embattled seaside gaming destination, Democrats today continued to position Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) as a busy, concerned lawmaker.

The appropriations committee passed Mazzeo’s Atlantic City rescue bill package by a vote of 6-3.

“You have to have this pilot program in place to stop the bleeding,” Mazzeo (pictured) told the Assembly Appropriations Committee today in support of his Casino Property Taxation Stabilization Act, or A-3981, which would require that the casino gaming properties in Atlantic City be responsible for the payment to the city of an annual payment in lieu of tax, based on casino gaming revenues.

The committee voted along party lines, with Republicans opposed to the act.

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande voted no, as did Assemblywoman Alison McHose and Assemblyman John DiMaio.

The Democrats who voted yes were Assemblyman Joe Lagana, Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt, Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Assemblyman Gary Schaer, Assemblywoman Grace Spencer, and Assembly Committee Chair John Burzichelli.

The other bills in the package:

  • (A3982) – Requires the holder of a casino license to submit proof to the state that all agreements it’s entered into with representatives of its employees for collective bargaining provide for suitable health care benefits and retirement benefits for all full-time employees. A casino that fails to comply would be subject to forfeiture of its license.
  • (A-3983) – Establishes an additional category of state school aid to help Atlantic City.  Under the bill, a school district may receive this aid if it’s situated in a municipality in which: 1) commercial property accounted for at least 75 percent of the total assessed property valuation in 2008, and 2) between 2008 and 2013, the assessed value of commercial property declined by at least 25 percent.  The Atlantic City School District is the only district that meets these criteria.  Commercial property accounted for nearly 78 percent of the municipality’s total assessed property valuation in 2008, and declined by nearly 32 percent, from nearly $16 billion to less than $11 billion, between 2008 and 2013.
  • (A-3984) – Reallocates the casino investment alternative tax to Atlantic City to pay debt service on municipal bonds.
  • (A-3985) – Repeals the law that requires the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to enter into an agreement the Atlantic City Alliance for a five-year partnership.  The bill also repeals the portion of law that authorized the authority to assess a fee on casino licensees if the public-private partnership was terminated or otherwise ended.
Mazzeo’s Atlantic City rescue bill emerges from Appropriations