New Jersey State and Building and Construction Trades Council president William T. Mullen slapped back at Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop Thursday for his comments saying that he may withdraw support for opening new casinos in North Jersey, specifically in Jersey City. Mullen responded to Fulop’s comments in the Philadelphia Inquirer, where the Hudson gubernatorial hopeful said “we’re gonna kill it and kill it aggressively” if the city looks to Atlantic City’s financial woes and decides casinos aren’t worth the trouble.
“On behalf of the thousands of working men and women who would be employed with construction jobs and the countless number of people who would be put to work as casino employees, I am extremely disturbed by Mayor Fulop’s stated willingness to ‘kill’ the plan to expand the state’s casino industry to North Jersey if he decides he doesn’t want it located in Jersey City,” Mullen wrote in a statement.
Mullen had previously told PoltiickerNJ that Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto (D-32) should back away from Fulop politically when his version of the casino expansion bill was still up for a vote in the Assembly. That round went to Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), though Prieto has fared better during the fight over the state takeover of Atlantic City. The Building and Construction Trades Council is at odds with the AFL-CIO over the takeover legislation, with the public labor unions opposing Sweeney’s bill for its provision to allow the state to break city workers’ union contracts there.
“This is an opportunity for a multi-billion dollar investment that will put thousands of construction workers to work, create permanent casino jobs and generate economic opportunities for the entire region,” Mullen continued. “While the mayor might be willing to sacrifice that opportunity for Jersey City, it shouldn’t be lost to other cities that would be grateful to be home to the economic benefits of a new casino. He shouldn’t be ‘killing’ the opportunity for Newark, Elizabeth, Bergen County or anywhere else in North Jersey.
“We have worked hard to generate the support for casino expansion and we succeeded in getting the Legislature’s approval. Now is the time to be working together to gain the required public’s support, not threatening to deny what should be an investment in jobs and economic growth in a strong geographic market. A new casino in the North Jersey market will boost the state’s economy, put people to work, strengthen the casino industry, aid Atlantic City’s financial recovery, and generate revenue to help senior citizens and the disabled.”