March 20, 2007
The announcement that Jim Whelan is scheduled to discuss the importance of the casino industry before the Assembly Budget Committee today prompted a laugh from Atlantic County Chairman Keith Davis.
?Whelan talking about the importance of the casino industry is like having Craig Callaway talk about government ethics,? said Davis. ?Jim Whelan shut the entire industry down. Jim Whelan put casino workers out of a job. He should be the very last person to go before the budget committee.?
Davis also found the timing of Whelan?s remarks questionable.
?It is really easy to say the casino industry is important in a tough election year,? said Davis. ?But Whelan had most of last year to show how vital the casino industry is to Atlantic County through his actions and he failed.?
Davis pointed out that after the casino shut down last year, Whelan sponsored a bill specifying that casino shall remain open even if the Legislature does not pass the budget by July 1st.
?The bill had one hearing just after the shutdown and never went any further,? said Davis. ?The Speaker of the General Assembly — who contributed thousands to Whelan’s campaign in 2005 — is a co-sponsor of the bill, and Whelan can?t get it passed?
?If Jim Whelan and the Democrat leadership in the Legislature really believe that casinos and their employees are important to this state, we would have never had a shut down and we would already have a law in place to prevent casinos from being shut down in the future,? said Davis. ?The casino industry was just as important in 2006 as it is in 2007. Facing reelection, Jim Whelan just realized it.?