Atlantic City Could Run Out of Money By the End of Month

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Atlantic City’s government could be out of money by the end of the month.

The declaration by the city’s attorney came in response to the Borgata’s announcement that it would not pay its first-quarter real estate taxes.

Atlantic City owes the city $62.5 million after the Borgata successfully appealed its property taxes several years in a row. The government of Atlantic City missed a deadline in December for the $62.5 million payment, which is for 2009 and 2010. The city owes the Borgata an additional $88 million in tax refunds for 2011 through 2015. Read more »

Chris Christie Really Only Beat Rick Santorum in Iowa

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a town hall at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a town hall at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016.

John Kasich phoned in his Iowa campaign. Literally.

The Ohio governor and presidential candidate held three “tele-town halls” in Iowa, where he talked with voters over the phone. At one point, he flew into Iowa to hold one rally, which The Des Moines Register called “unusual” and said he “alternately complimented and playfully antagonized the people who had come to listen to him speak.”

Kasich has concentrated most of his campaigning in New Hampshire, where according to polls he’s in a race for second place. New York Times politics writer tweeted Kasich ignored Iowa.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also focused on New Hampshire, but he did not ignore Iowa. He was there for all or part of 42 days, costing New Jersey taxpayers millions. Christie first visited the state back in 2010, and famously vetoed a symbolic pig crate ban in 2014 in order to appease Iowa voters. On Sunday night, he campaigned with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.

His campaign manager said Kasich, who had already left the state, was making the wrong choice. “You fight for every vote,” Christie’s campaign manager, Mike DuHaime, told the Washington Post. “I know John Kasich decided to leave, and that’s fine, that’s their strategy. But you have to respect the process.” Christie told Good Morning America he wouldn’t win, but he’d do well: “What I’ve wanted all along is to come out of Iowa as the number one governor. Polls show that I will be the number one governor.”

Whoops. Read more »

N.J. Bill Would Close Corporate Tax Loophole

Democrats in the New Jersey State Legislature introduced a new bill that would close a corporate tax loophole.

State Senators Ray Lesniak, Linda Greenstein and Paul Sarlo introduced a bill that would require “combined reporting” on income from multi-state corporations. Some corporations use subsidiaries to report income from New Jersey in other states — so they can avoid New Jersey’s 9 percent income tax. Read more »

Bankruptcy A Possibility for Atlantic City After Christie Veto

Atlantic City beach and boardwalk at twilight

Photo | Dan McQuade

Atlantic City could be out of cash by April.

That’s according to Mayor Don Guardian, who said estimates have the city running out of money in just a few months if state aid doesn’t come. “Bankruptcy is now back on the table,” Guardian said in a release. “If the state is not able to come up with the funding we need within the next few weeks, we will have no choice but to declare bankruptcy.”

Until yesterday, Atlantic City thought it was getting that funding: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie didn’t sign a bill that would plug $33.5 million in a state budget gap. It is essentially a veto.

It gets worse: In November, Chris Christie vetoed a similar bill, telling lawmakers he wanted the state to have more control over the funds going to Atlantic City. Lawmakers acquiesced, passing a new bill in line with what Christie requested. He let it sit until the bill died yesterday at noon.

Guardian, a Republican like Christie, released a statement blasting the decision.

“Governor Chris Christie and State Senate President Steve Sweeney initially reached out to Atlantic City last year and told us of their plans to draft a PILOT bill that would greatly aid our financial recovery,” Guardian said in the statement. “It wasn’t a perfect bill, but it was a bill that everyone could agree on. The bill was discussed, debated, and deliberated about endlessly. Then there was radio silence. We needed a decision and anticipated an answer on this crucial bill many, many months ago. All of us worked hard on the passage of this bill for over 18 months. So much time was wasted. And today, we finally have received that answer from the Governor.

“I must say, we are tremendously frustrated by the veto of this crucial bill because of all the hard work and effort that went into crafting this bill, for all the consensus building in the New Jersey Legislature that has gone for naught, and for all the cooperation locally that is now cancelled. It is certainly disappointing.” Read more »

Father David Creato Arrested in Brendan Creato’s Death

Left: An old stairway leads to a branch of the Cooper River, in Cooper River park, in the area where 3-year-old Brendan Link Creato was found dead, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Haddon Township, N.J. Authorities say the boy, who was reported missing Tuesday morning, was found dead three hours later in woods about a half-mile from his home. Right: D.J. Creato

Left: An old stairway leads to a branch of the Cooper River, in Cooper River park, in the area where 3-year-old Brendan Link Creato was found dead, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Haddon Township, N.J. Authorities say the boy, who was reported missing Tuesday morning, was found dead three hours later in woods about a half-mile from his home. Right: David Creato.

David Creato, Jr., 22, the father of 3-year-old Brendan Creato, has been arrested in connection with the death of his son.

Creato was taken into custody around 2:15 p.m. today in Washington Township after a grand jury indicted him today (full indictment below) on one count of first-degree murder and one of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child. Read more »

PA Turnpike Introduces Cashless Tolling at Delaware River Bridge

PA Turnpike - Delaware River bridge map

Map courtesy of the Pennsylvania Turnpike

You don’t have to stop to pay tolls on the Delaware River-Turnpike Bridge.

That doesn’t mean you won’t be paying them, though. In a change that went into effect on January 3rd, there are no more cash tolls on the bridge that connects the eastern end of the Pennsylvania Turnpike with the New Jersey Turnpike. Motorists who cross over the bridge headed into Pennsylvania will pay $5 if they have E-ZPass. Those without EZ Pass will receive a bill in the mail for $6.75. Read more »

Chris Christie Is Rarely in New Jersey, and It’s Hurting Him at Home

chris-christie-new-hampshire-940x540

The Wall Street Journal last night posted a story headlined, “Chris Christie’s Absences From New Jersey Are Being Noticed.” In it, reporter Heather Haddon notes that Christie was out of New Jersey some or all of the day for 261 days this year — or 72 percent of 2015. New Jersey’s native son was basically in New Hampshire more than New Jersey. Read more »

Jersey Housewife Teresa Giudice Released From Prison

She’s free! Real Housewives of New Jersey‘s Teresa Giudice walked out of prison this morning after famously serving nearly a year for bankruptcy fraud. She got out a little earlier than her 15-month sentence for good behavior.

Unsurprisingly, the reality star barely got past the grounds before the paparazzi started flashing their cameras. People magazine shared the first series of photos as as she drove away from Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, at around 5 am this morning.

Read more »

Will New Subaru HQ Really Revitalize Camden? Um, Maybe.

Subuaru - Camden HQ groundbreaking

The groundbreaking at Subaru’s new Camden headquarters was done, appropriately, by an Outback. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Subaru put on quite the dog-and-pony show today.

Outside an enormous tent, the company set up a display of four Subarus from its history in the United States, from a 1968 Subaru 360 to a 2015 Outback. Inside the tent, every seat at the ceremonial groundbreaking at Subaru of America‘s new Camden headquarters had a mysterious black box on it. (It had a mug and a floor mat-style coaster in it.) There were copious amounts of food and drink. A brass band played Christmas songs and selections from West Side Story, including “I Feel Pretty.”

When the event began a line of speakers praised Subaru, its new development, the city of Camden, the Campbell Soup Co., government officials and, well, each other. Everyone talked about what a great development this headquarters would be for the City of Camden. Michael McHale, Subaru of America’s head of communications, ended the speeches by saying that the groundbreaking wasn’t quite complete without a little more fanfare. In walked the Camden High School drum line.

The curtain at the back of the tent then dropped, and the band marched out to the pile of dirt. The dignitaries posed for photos as the groundbreaking began: A Subaru Outback, fitted with a plow, pushed a pile of dirt up a hill. The ground was broken, or at least moved around a bit. The new headquarters for Subaru of America, which is currently located on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, is scheduled to open near the end of 2017. Read more »

Report Recommends Toll Hikes on Atlantic City Expressway

Atlantic City Expressway

Photo | Dan McQuade

A New York ratings firm has recommended that you pay more to drive to Atlantic City.

Fitch Ratings, one of the big three national credit ratings agencies, recommended the South Jersey Transportation Authority hike tolls in a report.

“The authority has historically demonstrated willingness to raise rates when debt service coverage has declined or prior to the development of a large capital program,” Fitch wrote in its report. “Willingness to raise rates will be critical in the next five years, given any necessary maintenance work and an increasing debt service profile.” Read more »

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