New Jersey lawmaker counting on casinos before they hatch

Gamblers play roulette at the Golden Nugget casino in Atlantic City. New Jersey voters are being promised that millions of dollars in new funding will flow to programs for senior citizens

Gamblers play roulette at the Golden Nugget casino in Atlantic City. New Jersey voters are being promised that millions of dollars in new funding will flow to programs for senior citizens

In November, Garden State voters will decide on a proposed constitutional amendment allowing construction of two casinos in North Jersey. And Assemblyman Ralph Caputo plans to introduce a resolution Thursday that details how tax revenue from those casinos would be used.

If the expansion is approved, some taxes on the new casinos would be devoted to non-gaming development in Atlantic City, said Caputo, D-Essex.

“This would be a great bargain for the people in Atlantic City to have this happen because there would resources put there to rebuild their community,” he said.

The tax revenue would also help fund senior citizen programs, transportation improvements, and public space.

But Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo said he is troubled that the resolution fails to specify the tax rate for the new casinos.

“That’s great that the money is being looked at for Atlantic City. We need it. But what is going to be the revenue? What is going to be the tax rate?” said Mazzeo, D-Atlantic. “They’re pulling numbers out of the sky.”

Caputo said he’d like to see enabling legislation to set the tax rate before the November referendum.

“It has to be negotiated really with those potential people that are interested in proposing these casinos because it would determine the investment,” he said.

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