Saying there is too much as stake and too little time for political dog and pony shows, Assemblymen John Amodeo and Vince Polistina called on Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver to reconstitute the gaming summit panel by appointing an equal number of Republicans and Democrats to it.
?We have billions of dollars of current and future investments and tens of thousands of casino jobs at stake in Atlantic City along with the thousands of seniors and disabled across the state who depend on programs funding through the Casino Revenue Fund. The future of casino gaming in Atlantic City is too important to the entire state to get bogged down in a bunch of hearings put on just for political theater,? Polistina said. ?It?s time to get serious and get to work.?
As currently organized, the panel hosting the gaming summit is made up of only Democrat senators and assembly members. In fact, the panel is not an official legislative committee that can work on bills nor does it appear that it would have to abide by the state?s Sunshine Law.
?We like the direction Governor Christie is leading, but there are some substantive policy questions that we have to answer, and we can do that if this were a real committee,? Amodeo said. ?But, frankly having all Democrats on the panel completely undermines the process. The summit won?t have any credibility in the eyes of the public, because the direction of the panel just looks so contrived and so political.?
Amodeo and Polistina are concerned that such a superficial summit will delay the drafting and passage of legislation to revitalize Atlantic City.
?Time?s a wasting. The sooner we can implement the Governor?s recommendations, the sooner our economy will rebound and the better off our seniors will be,? Amodeo said. ?The right thing to do is for the Senate president and the Assembly speaker to change the panel into a real committee with bi-partisan membership that can actually work on drafting bills. They can appoint a Democrat co-chair and a Republican co-chair.?
Amodeo suggested his colleague Assemblyman Polistina should serve as the co-chair since he is the ranking Republican member of the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee.
?Again, we have another example where politics is being placed ahead of the public interest,? Polistina said. ?New Jersey needs the Senate President and the Speaker to do the right thing.?