State lawmakers are being urged by the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters to break an impasse on pending legislation to expand gaming in North Jersey and find common ground.
John Ballantyne, the executive secretary-treasurer of the NRCC, applauded State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney's (D-Gloucester) efforts to build consensus around a bill that would introduce gaming in North Jersey and help revitalize Atlantic City as a resort region. He urged lawmakers to find common ground to place a ballot question about North Jersey gaming before voters in 2016.
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 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 said. "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."
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