Visitors to Atlantic City casinos and hotels may have to pay a little more soon.
A new bill in the New Jersey legislature from Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto would help fund police and fire services in Atlantic City with a surcharge for hotel rooms.
The effort from Prieto is an effort to protect services in the city during a state takeover of its finances.
A look at the possible new tax
Prieto introduced the bill — A 4556 — this week. It is a straightforward piece of legislation tying a small hotel tax to essential services.
Here’s the summary of the bill:
This bill would impose a daily $2 per room surcharge on hotel occupancies in certain cities. The bill would require that all the proceeds from these surcharges would have to be used to fund public safety services for such city. The surcharges would sunset in two years after the effective date.
Because of the language of the bill, it would only apply to one municipality: Atlantic City.
Why the need for an AC room surcharge?
As a part of the state takeover of AC, one area NJ was looking into is cutting into things viewed as essential services. That includes a possible layoff of police.
Here’s more from Prieto, per the Associated Press:
“I was adamant that any state takeover of Atlantic City not involve, among other things, police and firefighter layoffs that would threaten public safety and the city’s efforts to market itself as a safe and family-friendly destination, but not everyone agreed,” he said.
“The harsh reality is now setting in, sadly, but I will not stand idle and allow police and firefighter layoffs to harm public safety for residents while also hurting the public’s ability to feel confident about visiting the city. Atlantic City must remain successful for the betterment of the entire state.”
Meanwhile in AC casinos and hotels…
While the state is assuming control of the city’s finances for at the foreseeable future, it at least appears that things have normalized for the AC casino and hotel industries:
- Despite the closing of the Trump Taj Mahal, casino revenue for AC was up for the first time in a decade, thanks to NJ online casinos.
- Showboat, which reopened without a casino, has said its relaunch has been a “great success.”
- TEN Atlantic City — formerly the Revel casino and resort — could finally reopen within a month, with or without a casino license.