New Jersey state senators consider tax break for Atlantic City casinos

Last week, two New Jersey state senators introduced a plan to give tax breaks to Atlantic City's eight surviving casinos in an attempt to make up lost revenue for the city.

Philly.com reported that State Senate president Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) and Sen. James Whelan (D., Atlantic) introduced the legislature, which will allow the casinos to pay $150 million in place of taxes for two years. The plan will help give the city a predictable revenue stream without casino tax appeals that take place each year.

"This plan will help stop the bleeding," Whelan told Philly.com.

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"Atlantic City needs this type of stabilization, which is critical to maintain the thousands of jobs and investment dollars in the market and enable further diversification to stimulate growth," Kevin Ortzman, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, told the Miami Herald.

If the plan goes through, the casinos would owe $120 million per year after two years, as long as Atlantic City's annual gambling revenue stays between $2.2 billion and $2.6 billion. If it falls between $1.8 billion and just under $2.2 billion, the payment would be $110 million. If revenue drops between $1.4 billion and just under $1.8 billion, the payment would be $90 million, and if it falls below $1.4 billion, the annual payment would be $75 million.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, passing these measures will be necessary to keep the ailing Trump Taj Mahal open, which closed one of its hotel towers last weel. Additionally, the casino proposed to close the entire property by Dec. 12, jeapordizing the jobs of the hotel's 3,000 employees. 

Casino revenue in Atlantic City dropped to half its 2006 peak of $5.2 billion as a result of increased competition as casinos operations spread to nearby states.

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