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New Jerseys Back in Business

After a weeklong government shutdown of Atlantic City's 12 casinos, Governor Jon S. Corzine signed a compromise budget last Saturday night and formally brought them back into business along with the state parks reopening and lottery ticket sales resuming.

The final budget amounted to $30.62 billion that included $3 Billion in spending cuts and a 1 percent increase in the sales tax, which was said to be controversial. Corzine commented that this is a step on the road to fiscal responsibility for the Garden State.

During a Saturday night ceremony at his Statehouse office in Trenton, Corzine said, "We didn't get it all done. No one is claiming victory in straightening out the finances of the state of New Jersey. But in my view at least, we've stopped digging our fiscal hole deeper."

For 28 years of legalized gambling in Atlantic City, this was the first time that these casinos were ordered to close. In the event, almost 45,000 workers were left jobless during the shutdown and turned most of Atlantic City into a ghost town. The closure hurt the casino workers along with the restaurants, Boardwalk stores and other small businesses while their finances declined. The closure of the gaming halls cost the state $1.3 million a day in tax revenues that casinos pay to the government.

Bob Westerfield, Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa pit manager, said, "We're back in business, while unlocking a chip tray on a $100 minimum blackjack table."

According to Joseph A. Corbo, Jr., president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, The casinos will push the state to either declare casino inspectors essential state employees or make the state Casino Control Commision, a regulatory body, an independent authority in hopes of avoiding budget-related shutdowns in the future.


Thursday, August 17 , 2006
Thomas Johnson