The Golden Goose is Gasping for Air

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

golden eggAtlantic City received yet another reality check this week, Save Jerseyans, with the news that the A.C. metro region experienced the single largest employment drop of any U.S. metropolitan area last month over July 2013.

That’s a 3,600 employee loss; by contrast, Nevada’s Clark County (home to Las Vegas) added 25,700 jobs.

Like I said on Sunday: New Jersey politicians will underestimate this problem at their own peril

That peril extends to those of us living outside of the legendary Shore resort’s metro area.

We spend a lot of time here at Save Jersey discussing the state aid flowing into urban center like Atlantic City, either directly or through tax abatements. A.C. is nevertheless a bit unique as New Jersey cities go insofar as its gaming industry generates roughly $1 billion annually in state and local tax revenue. The Gross Gaming Revenue Tax, for example, subsidizes a wide variety of public services for seniors and the disabled. I haven’t even touched on the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CDRA) which funds millions of dollars in projects outside of the A.C. metro area.

All of this conspires to create a tragic double-edged problem for lawmakers. They’ve balanced their budgets with spending, tax hikes and unsound business models like Atlantic City gaming for years now. We, the non-resident A.C. taxpayers, can’t afford to prop up these casinos going forward. Trenton, on the other hand, can’t afford to lose the revenue unless its politicians are finally ready to suck it up and deeply cut spending.

The Golden Goose is gasping for air all the while.