December 22, 2015
For Immediate Release:
Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters Urges N.J. Lawmakers to Break Impasse on Gaming Bills
With growing competition to Atlantic City, New Jersey's economic future is at stake.
EDISON, N.J. -- The Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters (NRCC) is urging New Jersey lawmakers to break an impasse on pending legislation to expand gaming in North Jersey and find common ground on an issue that is critical to all of New Jersey's economic future.
John Ballantyne, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the NRCC, applauded N.J. Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney's (D) efforts to build consensus around a bill that would introduce gaming in North Jersey and help revitalize Atlantic City as a resort region, among many benefits. He urged lawmakers to find common ground to place a ballot question about North Jersey gaming before voters in 2016.
"At a time when four of Atlantic City's 12 casinos have closed and others are in bankruptcy reorganization, Sweeney's bill and the consensus he has built represent a critical opportunity for the state of New Jersey to participate in economic opportunities that this legislation could create," Ballantyne said. "We support his efforts and urge all legislative leaders to work together on achieving agreement so this important ballot issue can go before voters in the November general election."
The timing is critical. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Atlantic County has been hit the hardest in job losses compared to 339 of the largest counties across the country in the past year. By many estimates, some 9,900 jobs have been lost in the Atlantic County region since the casino closings and increased competition from neighboring states.
With a vote by the New York State Gaming Commission on Monday, Dec 21, to approve more casinos in the state, and a recent vote by the Philadelphia City Council to approve construction of a new hotel casino in the Stadium District, New Jersey's Atlantic City region and state revenues are facing even more competition.
"We recognize the opportunities that this gaming initiative could create for the hard-working men and women of Northern New Jersey, potentially generating thousands of construction trades jobs and thousands of permanent jobs that could be part of the state's economic engine," Ballantyne added.
“It is clear that many leaders have compromised on this legislation and we encourage all parties to come to the table in the spirit of cooperation to end the impasse.
"At a time when New Jersey needs to create jobs and economic opportunities, we applaud Sweeney’s foresight to forge consensus on this bill, which is critical to the entire state, not only for the hard working men and women in the construction trades who will help build the facilities, but for the taxpayers of all of New Jersey," Ballantyne said.