Letter: Trenton’s Bad Bet

Letter: Trenton’s Bad Bet {Vote NO on Question #1}

As some of you might know – The first public question on the NJ Ballot this upcoming election day is to “Expand Casino Gambling” in the state.

“Proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize Legislature to permit by law establishment and operation of casinos in certain counties.”
(Read the entire resolution here).

Casino gambling NEVER works out

We’ve talked already about how the promises of economic windfalls never pan out. Just look at the ghettos that surround (most) casino areas.


Below are some bullet points as to why the whole thing should be squashed.

Trenton has a track record of making promises it fails to keep

  • Our Transportation Trust Fund is nearly bankrupt and has shut down $775 million in State Transportation Department projects and $2.7 billion in New Jersey Transit projects.
  • Our legislators have broken promises to cut property taxes – instead sharply increasing them over the last decade in a half.
  • Our pension system is fundamentally broken. New Jersey pensions are underfunded by nearly 50%, with a total pension shortfall of $44 billion.
  • New Jersey mismanaged traffic during the 2014 Super Bowl, causing 32,000 people to get stuck on crowded trains causing hours-long delays. In addition, Trenton diverted ARC Commuter Rail Tunnel funds in 2010, causing significant congestion for 87,000 New Jersey commuters.
  • Superstorm Sandy relief funds have been squandered on a state “marketing campaign.”
  • Nearly $1 billion in 911 funds designed to support an emergency call operation in New Jersey has been systematically diverted since 2006 to support our state’s non-eligible operating expenses.
  • New Jersey saw a sharp decline in transparency and accountability, dropping from the #1 spot in 2012 to #19 in 2015. The Center for Public Integrity gave the state a “D” grade for lax ethics enforcement and refusal to turn over public records, among other issues.
  • New Jersey received a “D-plus” grade from the American Society of Engineers’ (ASCE) report card, meaning that a large portion of its infrastructure has a significant risk of failure. The state has the most contaminated hazardous waste disposal sites in the country, its bridges are outdated and its dams crumbling.


Expanded casino gambling in north Jersey will do more harm than good

  • One study found that 23,000 jobs could be eliminated if casinos are expanded in New Jersey – with struggling Atlantic City bearing the brunt.
  • Studies estimate that cannibalizing the already-declining casino gambling market could shutter as many as five of Atlantic City’s seven remaining casinos.

This is a half-baked proposal – with basic details remaining unresolved

  • The exact casino locations haven’t been disclosed, and could very well wind up in our backyards.
  • Our legislators have no real clue how much tax revenue the new casinos are likely to bring in – or what rate they’ll be taxed.
    • For example, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, a sponsor of the amendment, has said the tax rate could be between 40 and 60 percent, while Senate President Steve Sweeney has said it will have to be less than 50 percent. Atlantic City casinos currently pay an effective tax rate of 9.25 percent, one of the lowest rates nationwide.
  • Trenton politicians failed to even commission an economic impact report on the project.

The facts are clear, and the referendum to expand Casino Gambling is another bad bet. Trenton politicians should be focused on spending for schools, roads, and other badly-needed infrastructure improvements, not falling prey to the whims of special interests. Vote NO on the expansion of casino gambling in New Jersey.

trenton's bad bet

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