After thanking those who testified at today?s New Jersey Casino Revenue Fund Advisory Commission public hearing, State Senator Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21) and Assemblyman Vince Polistina (R-2) said the key to making lives for senior citizens better in New Jersey is a robust casino industry.
?As we heard from person after person, New Jersey?s programs to assist seniors citizens and the disabled are vital to their quality of life,? Kean said. ?The Legislature has a fundamental responsibility to keep programs like prescription drug assistance, transportation aid, and home delivered meals are well funded and accessible for the elderly and infirm.?
?The personal experiences people shared with the commission this morning drives home the importance of these services,? Polistina said. ?Of course, New Jersey would not be able to provide them any of these services without the revenue generated by the casinos.?
The legislators, both members of the commission, emphasized that state government must become more business friendly to encourage continued growth in Atlantic City.
?The casino industry generates revenue for programs that aid the most vulnerable in our society. It also is vital to the future of Atlantic City,? Kean said. ?The residents of this state appreciate the contribution to our society, and want casinos to continue to generate revenue and jobs.?
The New Jersey Casino Revenue Fund Advisory Commission reviews programs funded by the Casino Revenue Fund and makes recommendations concerning the expenditures from the fund. One recommendation the legislators would like to see enacted soon is A-2046, which would increase the annual appropriation requirement for the Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Program from 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent of the revenues deposited in the Casino Revenue Fund.
?A small one percent increase in the formula will make a big difference to the thousands of seniors and disabled who rely on buses and rail to get to doctor?s appointments or to nutrition sites,? Polistina said. ?The bill has no impact on the general budget. It just expands the amount coming from an existing fund, so I think the Legislature can and should move forward on it.?