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(28th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) – Assemblyman Ralph Caputo on Thursday said legislation he’s introduced to ask voters to approve allowing casinos in Bergen County could go a long way toward helping boost state funding for schools and pensions.
Caputo’s bill (ACR-169) would ask voters to amend the state constitution to allow the Legislature to enact laws permitting the establishment and operation of casinos in Bergen County. The casinos would be under state regulation.
“We need to be cognizant of every means possible to raise revenue to help ease our budget crunch while providing essential services for working class New Jerseyans, and this is one option that could prove very, very helpful,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “Schools and legally mandated pension obligations are certainly essential services, and revenue collected by the state from Bergen County casinos could prove key to ensuring they’re properly funded.. It’s not a complete solution, nor is it an immediate solution, but it should be part of our long-term plan to provide funding for all New Jersey schools, keep New Jersey competitive on gaming and to benefit taxpayers.”
The Legislature would have the authority to prescribe the types of games permitted at the Bergen County establishments, provide for licensing and taxing of casino operations and equipment and specify the use of the state’s revenues resulting from this casino gambling.
If approved by the people at the 2011 general election, casinos could come to Bergen County as early as 2013.
“This makes sense on many levels,” Caputo said. “It will create jobs, spark economic development, fit with our ongoing Meadowlands redevelopment efforts, help keep New Jersey as a vital gaming destination and provide an alternative to property taxes for crucial services such as schools. It would represent great progress for our state.”