An economic stimulus package for Atlantic City is stuck in limbo after Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a series of bills earlier this month, but the issue is not yet dead.
Christie says no to a bunch of AC bills
The package of bills designed to provide help to Atlantic City had sat on Christie’s desk for months, with no action and no indication of what his plans for the package were.
The uncertainty finally came to an end earlier this month — sort of — when Christie vetoed most of them, saying he didn’t “believe the legislation sets the ailing Jersey Shore gambling resort on the road toward long-term growth,” according to a story at NJ.com:
…The Republican governor and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) also announced they will soon sit down and hammer out a “final and fast resolution path” to help revive city. …
But the governor said in his veto message Monday he is concerned the bills in their present form “fail to recognize the true path to economic revitalization and fiscal stability in the city.
Christie, of course, is still busy running for the Republican nomination for president, and some lawmakers blamed that for his inaction on Atlantic City.
So, the AC package isn’t dead, but what’s next?
Three of the bills were “conditionally vetoed” by Christie, which means they are sent back to the state legislature for changes. But the meeting between Christie and key lawmakers remains a moving target, two weeks after Christie’s vetoes. More from NJ.com:
Nearly two weeks later, Sweeney said he hasn’t yet sat down with Christie and he’s still uncertain what will happen with the legislation — whether they will compromise on changes or present something new entirely. But Christie did hold a meeting with someone about the topic.
Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said he met with the governor in Newark on Tuesday — a session that involved neither Sweeney (D-Gloucester) nor state Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic), another key co-sponsor of the legislation.
So, it appears the subject of helping AC is still on Christie’s radar. But will that result in action any time soon that will help the struggling casino town? That remains uncertain.
Meanwhile, AC still having lots of problems
The Press of Atlantic City blasted just about everyone for the AC mess in a house editorial, saying that Christie and the legislature need to take action, since AC’s own government is either unable or unwilling to do anything on its own.
That came against the backdrop that revenue was down year over year in October for AC by 1.3 percent. That was despite the fact that NJ online gambling continues to post strong numbers.
About the only thing everyone agrees on is that AC needs to be fixed. Simply put, no one knows how that will happen.