New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is taking his sweet time signing bills that would help Atlantic City. And he’s offering no explanation for the hold up.
Christie’s inaction on AC continues
The Associated Press reported that The Casino Association of New Jersey has urged Christie to sign the five bills concerning Atlantic City. From the AP:
The Casino Association of New Jersey on Monday urged Christie, a Republican presidential candidate, to sign a package of five bills. It was the second time they had called on him to take action on the measures.
The group says failure to enact the laws will cost Atlantic City $50 million this year – money that would have to come from the city’s already-strapped taxpayers.
“As the clock continues to tick while we wait for Governor Christie to sign the Atlantic City revitalization legislation, the price of inaction continues to grow and the fate of Atlantic City and the region hang in the balance,” it said in a statement.
The package of bill is seen as key to helping Atlantic City’s economic recovery. But Christie’s office has been mum on the issue, even as the bills have sat on his desk for months; the bills were all passed in June.
Increasing attention on Atlantic City
The news comes as more and more people are focusing on AC and its fortunes in recent weeks.
The first anniversary of the closure of the Showboat was in late August, along with Trump Plaza and Revel shortly thereafter. NJ.com took a look at how casinos in AC are doing in the wake of that closure.
The remaining eight casinos seem to have stabilized in the past year, although their ability to maintain their current level or even grow in coming years is certainly in doubt, especially without help from the state government
Union workers garnered some publicity for perceived poor treatment by doing protests at Trump Taj Mahal and Tropicana in neon lights.
The New Yorker also did a fascinating in-depth feature on the past, present and future of AC, called “The Death and Life of Atlantic City.” It tells much of the story through the lens of Revel, which opened in 2012 before closing and declaring bankruptcy just two years later. The beautiful but empty casino property is in many ways the poster-child for the problems of Atlantic City.
Christie is busy running for president, unsuccessfully
It’s not clear if Christie’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination is what is holding up the AC package. He certainly hasn’t been ignoring all of his duties in New Jersey, but the inaction on these important bills continues, even though he hasn’t signaled that he opposes them.
Christie has lost support in recent polls, dropping from four percent to two percent in one recent poll. If Christie doesn’t make some in-roads soon, his full attention may return to New Jersey for the remainder of his term, and to the unenviable task of trying to find ways to help Atlantic City turn around its economic fortunes.