‘These bills must become law’
(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) released the following statement Thursday after the Senate approved five bills he’s sponsored to help boost the economies of Atlantic City and Atlantic County:
“I thank the Senate for approving these property tax relief bills for Atlantic City and Atlantic County.
“I’m hopeful Gov. Christie will do the right thing and sign these bills without delay. These bills must become law, and they must become law soon.
“The work of turning Atlantic City into the multi-faceted tourist destination it must become is ongoing. In the meantime, we must stop the bleeding. With these bills, we’ll bring real reform to Atlantic City and help stabilize the tax base to bring new investment and businesses to the region.
“Combined with Atlantic City’s status as an Economic Growth Zone under the law I sponsored, these initiatives should be a catalyst that drives hundreds of millions of new investment to the city. I look forward to these bills becoming a springboard for economic growth in Atlantic City and Atlantic County.”
The bills now sitting on Christie’s desk would:
· (A3981) – Create the “Casino Property Taxation Stabilization Act” to address the dire situation in Atlantic City with casino closures. These closures, coupled with large property tax refunds owed by the city to several casinos as the result of successful property assessment appeals, created fiscal concerns for the city, which now cannot raise sufficient revenue to fund municipal government and schools. The bill would require that the casino gaming properties in Atlantic City be responsible for the payment to the city of an annual payment in lieu of tax, based on casino gaming revenues.
· (A3982) – Require the holder of a casino license to submit proof to the state that all agreements it’s entered into with representatives of its employees for collective bargaining provide for suitable health care benefits and retirement benefits for all full-time employees. A casino that fails to comply would be subject to forfeiture of its license.
· (A-3983) – Establish an additional category of state school aid to help Atlantic City decided by the education commissioner. Under the bill, a school district may receive this aid if it’s situated in a municipality in which: 1) commercial property accounted for at least 75 percent of the total assessed property valuation in 2008, and 2) between 2008 and 2013, the assessed value of commercial property declined by at least 25 percent. The Atlantic City School District is the only district that meets these criteria. Commercial property accounted for nearly 78 percent of the municipality’s total assessed property valuation in 2008, and declined by nearly 32 percent, from nearly $16 billion to less than $11 billion, between 2008 and 2013.
· (A-3984) – Reallocate the casino investment alternative tax to Atlantic City to pay debt service on municipal bonds.
· (A-3985) – Repeal the law that requires the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to enter into an agreement the Atlantic City Alliance for a five-year partnership. The bill also repeals the portion of law that authorized the authority to assess a fee on casino licensees if the public-private partnership was terminated or otherwise ended.