October 25, 2007
State Sen. James ?Sonny? McCullough today charged his opponent with ?a remarkable and costly failure of judgment? when he appeared before a committee of the Pennsylvania Legislature to support that state?s effort to approve legalized gaming.
?As Mayor of Atlantic City in 1995, Whelan testified before the State Government Committee of the Pennsylvania House that Pennsylvania should move to legalize gaming because of the economic benefits it produced,? McCullough said.
?We?ve seen the adverse impact on Atlantic City and the entire region as a result of our neighboring state following Whelan?s advice,? McCullough said. ?Revenues have fallen sharply every month this year and the industry now faces its first year-to-year revenue decline since gaming began some 30 years ago. Layoffs have hit the industry and the tax revenue from casino operations has tumbled. ?
?Why would the Mayor of this City which enjoyed enormous economic benefits, billions in capital investment, and creation of thousands of new jobs, from casino gambling support the creation of direct, major competition less than an hour away?? McCullough asked. ?What was he thinking??
The casino hotel industry has been the greatest single economic engine in South Jersey, creating 45,000 jobs with salaries and benefits of nearly $2 billion per year.
?The tax revenue it produces allows the state to spend some $400 million a year to help senior citizens and the disabled
purchase prescription drugs and pay utility bills,? he said. ?Moreover, the industry pays 80 per cent of all the property taxes collected in Atlantic City. Yet, Jim Whelan, in his official capacity as Mayor, gave his blessing to the effort to bring serious competition to nearby Pennsylvania and place the economic health of this region in jeopardy.?
?It?s impossible to think of a more devastating act,? he said.
?Whelan exercised exceedingly poor judgment in supporting the gaming proposal in Pennsylvania and it?s come back to haunt and harm us in Atlantic County,? McCullough said.
?It?s the same type of bad judgment Whelan was guilty of last year when he joined his Camden County allies in shutting down state government and the casino industry, throwing 45,000 people out of work and costing working men and women $9 million in salaries and tips,? McCullough said.