Tired of hearing excuses, Assemblymen John Amodeo and Vince Polistina said Governor Corzine simply lacks the will to declare Casino Control Commission employees essential state employees.
?The Governor has based his stance on legal opinion,? said Polistina. ?And an ?opinion? is just that ? on person?s side of the story. The governor needs to keep asking until he gets an answer that will allow the casinos to remain open and all of the critical senior programs that rely on the casinos to remain unaffected.?
?Keep the casinos open should be a priority with the administration, and the state should go the mat to keep the doors open, the employees working, and the customers coming in,? said Amodeo. ?Declare Casino Control Commission employees ?essential? and then let someone challenge that in court.?
Since Casino Control Commission employees are not ?essential? state employees, if the state government shuts down like it did in 2006, Atlantic City?s casinos will have to close because there would be no casino regulators working. Under current state law, the casino would be able to remain open for seven days in the event of a state shutdown. Amodeo and Polistina are sponsoring a bill to increase that number of days casinos can remain open to 60 days.
?The casino industry in New Jersey is facing stiff competition for other states and is trying to struggle through the recession like everyone else, it does not need the state to exacerbate the situation,? said Polistina. ?The governor should just say CCC employees are essential and not leave a multi-billion dollar industry at the mercy of some government lawyer.?
?It?s bad enough that the casino industry, which may be the largest employer in the state, was left out of the federal stimulus package,? said Amodeo. ?Government should make some acknowledgment that the businesses, the jobs, and the senior and disabled programs generated and supported by this industry are vital to New Jersey.
Both assemblymen served on panels discussing economic development in South Jersey at today?s ?Sound Off for South Jersey? event sponsored the Southern New Jersey Development Council.