As negotiations continue to keep the Taj Mahal casino open, New Jersey’s Senate leader says the state won’t offer tax breaks to prevent its shutdown next month.
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has said he would come up with $100 million to keep casino in business, but only if its employees’ union agrees to health care and pension concessions and he gets tax credits from the state and Atlantic City.
Senate President Steve Sweeney said Friday that’s not going to happen.
“You get nothing from us until you treat these workers with respect. If they gave him what he was asking for, he’s closing it anyway in a year,” said Sweeney during a news conference on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. “So what we can do is not help hand somebody something where they’re trying to destroy an industry in this region of the state.”
The president of Unite 54, which represents unionized workers at the Taj Mahal, said the pension and health care givebacks Icahn wants could have a domino effect on other casinos in Atlantic City.
“We have a ‘most favored employer’ clause, which simply states that if we give economic advantage to any other employer, they can all take part,” Bob McDevitt said. “So what Mr. Icahn is trying to negotiate is a complete decimation of health care in Atlantic City and in the area.”
Longtime Taj Mahal employees are hopeful it can stay open, but they say they can’t afford to pay more for their benefits.