Atlantic City Mayor Backs Bill to Save Taj
A New Jersey Senate committee on Monday gave approval to a bill that gives tax breaks to Atlantic City casinos, a last-ditch effort to save the Taj Mahal Casino from joining the ranks of gaming operations that have shut down in that city this year.
The bill has the support of Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, who testified in its favor on Monday. “I do believe this legislation is going to save the Taj from closing,” he said.
Trump Entertainment plans to hand itself over to (investor Carl) Icahn, who would cancel $286 million in company debt he owns. He would invest $100 million into the Taj Mahal, but only if its main union, Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, drops its appeal of a court-ordered cost savings package.
The plan approved Monday by the Senate budget committee lets the Trump Taj Mahal and Atlantic City’s other seven casinos know how much they will have to pay each year in lieu of property taxes and lets the city know how much revenue it can expect. The casinos collectively would pay $150 million for the first two years and $120 million annually for 13 years, assuming gambling revenue stays within certain ranges in the city, where four casinos have closed this year.
Other parts of the package would mandate minimum benefits for casino workers, dissolve the Atlantic City Alliance and put its $30 million budget to other municipal uses, and redirect a “reinvestment tax” to help the city pay off its debt.
For now, however, the Taj is still targeting December 20th to close completely.