Calling Governor Christie’s differing responses to a raft of redevelopment bills for Atlantic City “a mixed bag filled with the good, the bad and the ugly,” Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) said that he was disappointed in Christie’s vetoes on legislation that he says would offer immediate property tax relief to residents.
“It’s incredibly unfortunate the governor chose to let these bills sit on his desk for months while he panders to voters across the country instead of focusing on the people who need him here. Now his actions have further delayed the critical reforms and aid Atlantic County needs,” said Mazzeo.
The bills that saw conditional vetoes Monday afternoon included Mazzeo’s high-profile payment in lieu of taxes plan, which he sponsored along with Senator Jim Whelan (D-2). The plan would allow casinos to pay a single lump sum for two years and then a similar amount for 13 more, rather than risk further losses in city and county revenue from property tax assessment appeals.
Christie signed only one of Mazzeo’s five redevelopment bills, a measure that would offer additional funding for declining schools in heavily commercial neighborhoods.
Christie vetoed outright a bill that would have required casinos to provide proof of collective bargaining agreements to offer full health and retirement benefits to state officials in order to keep their operating license.
The stalled PILOT bill loomed large during Mazzeo’s successful reelection campaign this year, which saw him take repeated shots at Christie for his delayed action on the bill while travelling out of state.
“These bills were designed to bring real long term sustainable reforms to Atlantic City, help stabilize the tax base and generate new investments and business opportunities in the region,” Mazzeo continued. “In the coming days, we will carefully review the governor’s recommendations to make sure that any actions we take adhere to those principles.
“More than anything right now, the residents of Atlantic City deserve the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their property tax bills will be stabilized and critical government services will be funded.”