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Chris Christie Conditionally Vetoes Atlantic City Rescue Plan

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dani3839

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has conditionally vetoed the state legislature’s fiscal rescue plan for beleaguered casino hub Atlantic City.

Christie waited until the last minute of his 1pm deadline on Monday to render his veto, while issuing a statement saying the bills required adjustments in order to “set a course for renewed long-term prosperity, economic growth, and expansion in the region’s tourism, entertainment and gaming industries.”

The five-bill package that Christie kiboshed included a plan to allow Atlantic City’s casino operators to collectively make fixed annual payments rather than variable tax payments based on real estate values. The 15-year plan called for the city’s eight remaining casino operators to make annual payments of $150m in each of the first two years following the bill’s passage, falling to $120m in subsequent years.

Christie also vetoed plans that would have ensured health and pension benefits for unionized full-time casino employees as well as a plan to abolish the Atlantic City Alliance marketing agency.

The latter plan would have freed up $30m that would have helped the city deal with its projected $101m deficit this year; instead, Christie wants this money held by the state Local Finance Board, which would decide whether or not to release the money depending on the progress the city was making on getting its financial house in order.

State Senate president Steve Sweeney said he was “extremely disappointed’ by Christie’s veto, while criticizing the governor for waiting five months to make a decision after the legislature put the bills on his desk. Sweeney said legislators would study Christie’s suggestions before taking any further steps.

While Christie has a point regarding AC’s inability to live within its means since its casino market peaked in 2006, critics will likely accuse him of playing fiscal hardball in order to buttress his appeal to Republican voters in other states. Christie is theoretically still alive in the race to secure the GOP’s presidential nomination for 2016, but his woeful poll standings have him relegated to the ‘kiddie table’ for Tuesday’s two-tiered Fox Business Network debate.

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CareyG

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I used to like Christie but he has turned into a real jerk as of late!
 

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