Not only will New Jersey voters be selecting the next president and several local representatives on Nov. 8, but they will also be asked to decide on expanding casino gaming into North Jersey.
Casino gaming is a 1970s economic development strategy that has run its course. To expand casino gaming in the most saturated market in the country makes absolutely no public policy sense. Only in New Jersey could the answer to too many casinos be more casinos.
Let’s get real. Expansion of casino gaming into North Jersey is not on the ballot because it reflects the will of the people; it is on the ballot because of the ability of two billionaires to influence our elected officials in Trenton.
Think about it. Two extremely wealthy individuals can get a constitutional amendment on the ballot that will, according to one independent study, cause nearly 30,000 people to lose their jobs and devastate the economy of an entire region. Yet they expect the people to support their sham by promising what amounts to a “welfare check” of $200 million a year to rebuild the economy of Atlantic City. How they arrived at this number is unknown since they have produced no documentation to support their claim.
The fact that a majority of voters appear to be opposed to an expansion of casino gaming shows they have more common sense than many elected officials. They recognize the limitations of casino gaming and don’t buy the ridiculous, unsubstantiated promises made by supporters of North Jersey casinos.
No one can say how much revenue North Jersey casinos would generate without knowing the rate at which these casinos would be taxed.
Assemblyman Caputo’s recently proposed resolution to the Nov. 8 referendum still fails to identify a specific tax rate. Nor do we know what social costs North Jersey casinos will impose or where they will be located.
It is no accident that the details, where the devil resides, have been conveniently omitted. Why would any reasonable individual support the amendment without the terms and conditions being clearly stated?
South Jersey is currently challenged by high unemployment and the highest home foreclosure rate in the country. North Jersey casinos will assuredly make these problems worse.
Unfortunately some politicians prefer to count on this pipe dream of “easy money” from a declining number of gamblers rather than rolling up their sleeves to develop sound budgets and sustainable economic policies. Sadly, the citizens of New Jersey will pay a high price for such stupidity.