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LIFEST YLE OPINION

constitute a state Constitutional Amendment regarding expanding casino gaming to North Jersey. The financial implications regarding this cannot be overstated. It would have a debilitating effect on Southern New Jersey. The closure of 2-4 more Atlantic City casinos would be the result and a loss of 10,000-15,000 more jobs. The loss of many more jobs in supporting industries will ripple from the closures. As is stands presently, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney has his plan. In the New Jersey General Assembly, Speaker Vincent Prieto has his own competing version. Both schemes are terrible news for Atlantic City and all of New Jersey. Prieto’s plan is far worse. Sweeney had always been a protective “firewall,” keeping any talk of casino gaming outside of Atlantic City from becoming a reality. Sweeney said, “You know, leadership means you have to make tough decisions even when it has an impact on you. This is directly in my backyard. No one feels it harder than I do. And no one had fought harder to help Atlantic City than I have. If I wasn’t the Senate President, gaming would already be taking place in Northern New Jersey,” said Sweeney. Governor Christie has also spent the past 5-plus years relentlessly defending and protecting Atlantic City. He now also favors the expansion of casino gaming into North Jersey. On Friday, January 8, 2016, Governor Christie issued the following statement regarding the legislature’s competing bills to expand gaming to North Jersey. “I have already clearly stated my support for the expansion of gaming to Northern New Jersey given the economic growth and job creation it will bring to our state,” said Christie. “We should advance this item before the end of the legislative session. It is disturbing that infighting within the Democratic party over competing gaming bills may deprive the voters of the ability to consider this question in November. Right now, it appears that ACR-2 does not have sufficient support to move forward in the Assembly. If that is the case, inaction should not be an option. The only remaining course of action to put the ball in the end zone on this important issue is to post SCR-185 for a vote in the Assembly after its passage in the Senate. Delay puts the expansion of gaming in peril. That is not in the interests of anyone in New Jersey, North or South,” concluded Governor Christie. For all of these reasons, this is literally the most important election in our lifetime. It’s going to be a most profound year in terms of electoral politics. n Harry Hurley is the president of Harry Hurley Consulting and Communications, LLC, www. harryhurley.com. He hosts the daily talk radio program “Hurley in the Morning” 6-10 AM weekdays on Townsquare Media, WPG Talk Radio 1450, where he also serves as the senior programming consultant. 32

Winter 2016 |

LIFESTYLE

njlifestyleonline.com

NJ Lifestyle Magazine Winter 2016  
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