It’s a fight on the boardwalk.
After the conclusion of the Governor’s Atlantic City Summit Part III, during which the governor announced the appointment of an emergency manager for Atlantic City, Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) expressed his displeasure.
In a statement that underscored the work Democrats have undertaken to make Republican Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian their ally, Mazzeo objected to the governor treading on Guardian’s local turf.
“Throughout his time in office Mayor Don Guardian has worked in a bipartisan manner to do what is necessary to cut wasteful spending to help fix Atlantic City’s broken fiscal climate,” said Mazzeo, who’s heading toward a closely watched 2015 general re-election. “The appointment of an emergency manager is not something that I support, but I will work with him and his team in a cooperative manner to fix and reform Atlantic City’s dire property tax situation. We need to relieve the burden on Atlantic County’s hard-working middle-class families, seniors and businesses.
“Even with the appointment of an emergency manager – and some questions about his powers and what he’s going to be able to accomplish – the need to reform and stabilize the Atlantic City tax structure is still the most pressing fiscal issue facing our region,” the assemblyman added.
He reiterated his support for his casino rescue bills package, which has divided him from rival Assemblyman Chris Brown (R-2), who’s also up for re-election.
“The PILOT program has bipartisan support from all levels of government here in Atlantic County and it is my hope that we will pass this legislation and that Gov. Christie will sign it into law,” said Mazzeo. “Massive cuts and restructuring in Atlantic City are more than necessary, but it’s meaningless if casinos are awarded tens of millions in tax appeals annually. The PILOT program is still necessary for Atlantic City, Atlantic County and every single person and business who pays taxes.”
Trying to shore up cross-the-aisle support to add to the mayor, Mazzeo bear-hugged Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson.
“As the County Executive said earlier this week in the meeting with the Mayors Association, ‘This will stop the bleeding… We are better with the PILOT then without it,'” Mazzeo said.