News from the Senate and Assembly Republicans
December 16, 2008 Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean/908-232-3673
Assemblymen Vince Polistina and John Amodeo/609-677-8266
KEAN, AMODEO AND POLISTINA INTRODUCE BILL EXTENDING PROTECTIONS AGAINST CASINO SHUTDOWN BILL WOULD ALLOW CASINOS TO OPERATE FOR UP TO 60 DAYS DURING ANY GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
In an effort to guard against any possible interference with casino operations in the event of a state government shutdown next summer, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Assemblymen John Amodeo and Vince Polistina have introduced legislation allowing casinos and racetracks to operate for up to 60-days during any halt in government operations.
“These are difficult times. It’s unlikely that creating next year’s budget will be a smooth process,” said Kean, R-Union, Morris, Somerset and Essex. “Neither the casinos nor their workers can afford a shutdown while legislators debate state spending. We need to protect jobs so that no one is put at risk of missing a payment on a mortgage or utility bill.”
“The government shutdown in 2006, resulting from the failure of the Governor and the Legislature to approve a budget by the July 1st deadline, was a devastating blow to the casino industry and its workers,” said Amodeo, R-Atlantic. “We cannot risk another shutdown that threatens the casino industry and its workers.”
Kean, Polistina and Amodeo said that with the state facing a possible budget shortfall of more than $4 billion for next year’s budget, the possibility of another contentious budget process – and an extended government shutdown – cannot be ruled out. Under current law, the casinos can operate for up to seven days in the event of a government shutdown.
“The prudent thing is to be prepared well in advance for what could happen this summer,” said Polistina, R-Atlantic. “The legislation approved earlier this year fails to account for the very real possibility that during a protracted budget stalemate we could have a government shutdown that exceeds one week. We have to prevent workers from losing wages and the state from losing any revenue should state leaders fail to adhere to their responsibilities as they did in 2006.”
The failure of the Governor and Legislature to pass a budget by July 1 in 2006 resulted in a shutdown of the state government and the closing of the casinos in Atlantic City for the first time in history. The state lost $4 million of revenue as a result of the 2006 shutdown.