New Jersey Assembly Approves Atlantic City Rescue Bills

  • Measures with Christie changes must be approved by Senate
  • Atlantic City could run out of cash in April without infusion

New Jersey’s assembly on Thursday approved Governor Chris Christie’s changes to legislation that Atlantic City needs to remain solvent this year, which now heads to the state senate for a vote.

Last month, Christie returned to legislators bills that would diverted some gambling funds that the struggling resort city was counting on to help close a $101 million deficit this year. Without the infusion, the city’s cash flow risks going negative by April or sooner, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report Dec. 11.

The legislative package also includes a measure that would establish fixed payments from casinos instead of levies based on real-estate values, which would prevent tax appeals that strain the city’s finances.

"These bills are geared to stabilize the property taxes,” said Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo, a Democrat who represents Atlantic City, Thursday on the floor before the vote. "It will help invigorate and get investment into Atlantic City."

The changes requested by Christie include having the state’s local finance board collect the revenue from the casinos and make its release dependent on the city’s fiscal progress.

Moody’s ranks the city’s debt Caa1, seven levels into speculative grade.

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