Responding to Governor Jon Corzine?s comments that meeting the July 1 deadline for passing a budget would be challenging, Assemblymen John Amodeo and Vince Polistina today said there is no excuse for another government shutdown and added this is more evidence of the importance of their legislation allowing casinos to remain open in the event of a shutdown.

?The people of this state do not want a repeat of the disastrous government shutdown that took place in 2006,? said Amodeo, R-Atlantic. ?We know that New Jersey has a spending problem and we have three months to pass a budget that will address that problem. There is no excuse for not getting this job done by the constitutional deadline.?

In an Associated Press story today Governor Corzine said that the state?s dire fiscal condition will require him to sharpen his budget ax and that this could make it ?very challenging? to pass a budget by the July 1 constitutional deadline.

If a budget isn?t adopted by midnight on June 30, state government would face another shutdown like the one that occurred in the summer of 2006. The failure of the Governor and Legislature to pass a budget by July 1 that year resulted in a shutdown of the state government and the closing of the casinos in Atlantic City for the first time in history.

?This threat of another shutdown just goes to show the importance of our legislation allowing the casinos to stay open if the state again shuts down operations,? said Polistina, R-Atlantic. ?The last shutdown of the casinos cost the state and the casino industry and its employees millions of dollars. We must pass legislation now to ensure that this never happens again.?

Amodeo and Polistina are the sponsors of Assembly Bill ACR-135, a constitutional amendment that would deem casino regulators essential state employees, allowing the casinos to operate in the event of a government shutdown. They are co-sponsors of ACR-155, a similar amendment that has cleared the Assembly Tourism & Gaming Committee, but not yet advanced to the full Assembly.

Polistina and Amodeo also are cosponsors of Assembly Bill A-2410, which would allow casinos to operate in the event of a government shutdown this year ? since the constitutional amendments cannot take effect until after they go to the voters in November. That bill also has cleared the Assembly Tourism & Gaming Committee, but has not been voted on by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.


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