Mazzeo’s 5-Bill Package to Bring Property Tax Relief, Economic Growth & Jobs to Atlantic City Advanced by Assembly Panel

Part of Lawmaker’s Focus on Property Tax Relief, Economic Development & Job Creation for A.C. Region

(TRENTON) – A 5-bill package Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo sponsored to bring property tax relief and stability to Atlantic City’s residents and businesses as part of his continued efforts to reinvigorate the region’s economy and create jobs was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.

“We need to stop the bleeding in Atlantic City,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “Reducing the property tax burden on families and businesses is a top priority. This legislation will bring real reform to Atlantic City and help stabilize the tax base to bring new investment and businesses to the region. Atlantic City’s new status as an Economic Growth Zone will be the catalyst that delivers hundreds of millions of new investment to the city, but we know businesses won’t come without real reform.”

Mazzeo earlier this year sponsored legislation (A-3213) to further encourage economic development and job growth in Atlantic City.

“These new bills combine property tax stabilization with belt-tightening,” Mazzeo said. “This combination, along with ensuring we protect workers, will create future economic development opportunities and jobs. This will make Atlantic City and the entire region a more affordable place to live and work.”

The bills were recently advanced by the Senate budget panel and 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.

    “This bill will provide certainty to the casinos with respect to their financial obligation to Atlantic City, and provide certainty to Atlantic City about the financial obligation of the casinos to the coffers of Atlantic City, Atlantic County and the Atlantic City School District,” Mazzeo said.

    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. 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.

    “It’s all about property tax relief,” Mazzeo said.

  • (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.

“We’re going to face a lot of tough decisions in the coming weeks that will shape Atlantic City’s future,” Mazzeo said. “These bills will play a key part in making the right decisions.”

The bills were released by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.