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Lawsuit to Stop 9 Year Casino Tax Break at Critical State

1. The lawsuit filed by LibertyAndProsperity.com, Atlantic County Government, and six Atlantic County towns is at a critical point. Final papers are being submitted. Judge Julio Mendez will make his final decision at the end of this month.

2. Republican Governor Christie, Democratic Mayor Lorenzo Langford, and current Republican Mayor Don Guardian all caused Atlantic City’s financial crisis by defying NJ’s Local Budget and Bond Laws designed to protect taxpayers.

3. Those laws require local governments to have balanced budgets each year. They do not allow local officials to borrow money to pay current expenses.

4. In 2010, state officials took over Atlantic City’s finances when Judge Valerie Armstrong ruled that Atlantic City was “in gross violation of the Local Budget Law”.

5. After taking over, Christie’s state officials allowed Atlantic City to continue to break the law by spending roughly $80 million more each year than it took in. This went on for 8 years, and Atlantic City, a small town of 40,000 people is now $400 million to $600 million in debt.

6. We sued the state and Atlantic City last year when they still refused to comply with the law.

7. Atlantic City’s seven operating casino properties plus the Revel pay more than half of Atlantic City’s property taxes. Instead of demanding spending cuts, they lobbied for special laws to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

8. In 2016, the casinos hired Optimus Partners as their lobbyists. One partner was Republican Jeffrey Michaels, a close friend and ally of Republican Governor Chris Christie. Jeffrey Michaels is also the brother of Port Authority Police Lieutenant “Chip” Michaels who chauffeured Authority Chairman David Wildstein to inspect the traffic jam Wildstein created at the George Washington Bridge. The other partner was Democrat Philip Norcross, brother of South Jersey Democratic powerbroker George Norcross.

9. During May of 2016, Republican Governor Chris Christie, and Democrats and Republicans in the State Legislature enacted a “Casino PILOT Law”. It gives Atlantic City’s eight “casino gaming properties” a ten year tax break at the expense of every other property owner in Atlantic County. The legislation was introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo from Atlantic County, who once admitted his bill was written by the casino lobbyists.

10. In 1837, massive corruption and unsustainable debt caused a seven year economic collapse in America known as “The Panic of 1837”. To fix that problem, New Jersey adopted a new State Constitution with two key provisions. First, State Government could no longer borrow money unless voters approved. Second, state and local governments had to assess and tax all property equally. Those two provisions are still part of our New Jersey State Constitution today.

11. We believe that the Casino PILOT Law violates that “tax uniformity” clause of our State Constitution. We immediately asked the court to stop it. Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, the County Freeholders, and the towns of Absecon, Egg Harbor Township, Hamilton Township, Somers Point, Ventnor, and Weymouth also filed suit.

Seth Grossman, Executive Director
Liberty and Prosperity 1776, Inc.
453 Shore Road
Somers Point, NJ 08244
(609) 927-7333

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