N.J. Assembly leader, Senate president clash over best way to help Atlantic City

Listen
Even if a plan from Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (right) to help Atlantic City is approved Thursday in Assembly

Even if a plan from Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (right) to help Atlantic City is approved Thursday in Assembly

The New Jersey Assembly is expected to vote Thursday on Speaker Vinnie Prieto’s version of legislation to deal with Atlantic City’s financial crisis.

Prieto has proposed giving the city two years to improve its finances before the state could terminate union contracts and sell city assets.

But Senate President Steve Sweeney said if the Assembly passes that plan, he won’t post it for a vote in the Senate.

“Putting a bill up that he knows isn’t going to get signed by the governor, what are you accomplishing?” Sweeney said Wednesday. “If there was a real bill that we could get the governor to sign, I would do it.”

If the bill proposed by Prieto, D-Hudson, fails, Sweeney said he wants the Assembly to consider his measure giving Atlantic City 130 days to cut costs and avoid a state takeover.

“The politics of this is really upsetting,” said Sweeney, D-Gloucester. “To watch Atlantic City flounder, to see the taxpayers in that city, the people that are going to be harmed down there. There are people who are going to lose jobs.”

Sweeney said the deadlock has already hurt the city.

“The casinos already let us know their room nights are going down. Before, the convention business was on the rise. That was positive,” he said. “Now, because of this, it’s opposite. So there’s no benefit to where we’re at.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.