Last week, PolitickerNJ documented the uncertainty surrounding efforts to shore up the beleaguered seaside gaming mecca in the face of stiff economic and fiscal problems. It includes, though is not limited to: A mammoth, $24 billion casino, bankrupt and left without an investor for a second time; legislation to create a PILOT program and bring some much-needed tax relief to residents and hemorrhaging casino owners, still idle in the Senate as lawmakers work frantically to build support; and a new emergency management team, installed via executive order by Gov. Chris Christie, striking fear in some observers who worry the state might take the city the way of Detroit.
It’s all somewhat up in the air as lawmakers push to salvage Atlantic City from economic meltdown. But political observers might find another element of uncertainty in the apocalyptic headlines and 11th-hour scrambles to keep a sinking ship afloat.
Will Atlantic City be a positive or negative mark on Christie’s 2016 presidential campaign tally sheet?
Politico explores the question today, with New Jersey’s political experts arguing from both directions. Take Montclair State University scientist and law professor Brigid Harrison, who sums Christie’s AC dilemma up as well as any:
“The problem of Atlantic City is not all Chris Christie’s fault, as the gaming industry has been eviscerated,” said Brigid Harrison, political science and law professor at Montclair State University. “But why Atlantic City matters for him running for president is that South Jersey has lost 10,000 jobs, and that kind of drain means other statewide economic indicators are dropping, and his primary opponents can very easily use those against him.”
Read more here.