Lawmakers redo Atlantic City takeover, casino tax bills

What once was billed as a state takeover of Atlantic City is now being sold as an "intervention."

New Jersey's lawmakers have reworked and reintroduced a bill to help the struggling Atlantic City.

New Jersey's lawmakers have reworked and reintroduced a bill to help the struggling Atlantic City. (2/18/16)

TRENTON - What once was billed as a state takeover of Atlantic City is now being sold as an "intervention."

New Jersey lawmakers announced a bill that includes what they call a cooperative effort between the state and city to get the area’s troubled finances under control.

The bill would still give the state vast authority over Atlantic City's finances, including the right to renegotiate debt, break contracts, dissolve boards or agencies, sell off city assets, and file for bankruptcy.

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian has publicly called the plan a “stab in the back” and is unhappy with Senate President Steve Sweeney.

“I know they're not happy, we're not happy, but the money's going to be running out very soon,” Sen. Sweeney says.  

Mayor Guardian has said that state leaders have told him that the bill would be less than a state takeover.

“I wholeheartedly understand and recognize the [Atlantic City City Council] isn't happy, but the state of New Jersey’s not just going to write a check and say ‘Here,’” says Sweeney.

Lawmakers also reintroduced a bill vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie that would let Atlantic City's eight casinos make payments in lieu of taxes in return for not appealing their property taxes.

It also would redirect casino payments that once went toward development projects in Atlantic City to paying down the city's debt.

News 12 New Jersey reached out to Mayor Guardian for comment, but calls were not returned.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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