On Wednesday, Gov. Chris Christie held another press conference on the dire financial situation facing Atlantic City. He urged Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) to post a bill (S-1711) that the Senate has already passed that would let the state take control of the resort's finances. As part of that, the state would have the latitude to renege on union contracts.
Christie has been holding near-daily press conferences -- countered by daily responses from Prieto -- who has refused to post the bill. He has said the city is paying too much to too many workers under union contracts. He even announced the state is suing the city to make sure it pays the school district the $34 million it is required to pay to keep the schools open -- Atlantic City is a month behind on its payments.
Countering Christie, Prieto last night unveiled his own plan, which would protect the unions. It would require casinos to make payments in lieu of property taxes to keep the city afloat, create a five-member committee to adopt a financial plan for the city, and have that body control specific city duties. After a year, if the city does not meet certain financial benchmarks, the committee would gain even more control.