ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Monday, July 03, 2006

Tax & Gamble Corzine

At least I don't live in Jersey... the government has shut down!!! And the Dems are the ones that have allowed it to happen...

Atlantic City Casinos Ordered to Close
Jul 2, 7:45 PM (ET)
By ANGELA DELLI SANTI

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Atlantic City's casinos were ordered to close Wednesday, the latest casualty of a state government shutdown that entered its second day Sunday after the Legislature failed to adopt a budget by its July 1 deadline.

The head of the Casino Control Commission ordered gaming in Atlantic City to cease at 8 a.m. Wednesday - the day after the July Fourth holiday - if New Jersey fails to enact a budget by then.

Atlantic City's 12 casinos, which require state monitoring, have waged a court battle to remain open, and an appeals court was weighing the matter Sunday. There was no word on when a ruling would be made, courts spokeswoman Winnie Comfort said.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine said Sunday there was "no immediate prospect of a budget." State parks, beaches and historic sites also were expected to shut down Wednesday.

If the casinos shut down, the state would lose an estimated $2 million in tax revenue each day they stayed closed. Republican Assemblyman Francis Blee, whose district includes the casinos, said it was important for them to remain open.

"We will have tens of thousands of individuals, real people, that are going to be hurt by this," he said. "There will be bread-winners who are not bringing home a paycheck."

Corzine shut down nonessential government services Saturday after the Legislature failed to adopt a budget by its July 1 deadline, leaving the state without the means to spend money. Budget talks became heated this year as Corzine, a Democrat, proposed increasing the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to help overcome a $4.5 billion budget deficit.

Most Democrats in the Assembly and several Senate Democrats oppose the sales tax increase, fearing voter backlash and reserving any tax increase for property tax reform. Assembly Democrats proposed a series of alternatives, some of which Corzine accepted, but both sides remained $1 billion apart as the budget deadline passed.

About 45,000 state employees were furloughed Saturday. Corzine's order allows him to keep 36,000 state employees working without pay. Services such as state police, prisons, mental hospitals and child welfare were to keep operating.

The lottery and road construction projects were among the first to close. A state appellate panel on Sunday ordered horse tracks closed at the end of business Tuesday. It was not immediately known Sunday whether the horse racing industry would file further appeals to keep harness and thoroughbred tracks open past July 4.

Corzine was expected to meet in private Sunday with top Assembly and Senate leaders. Assembly Budget Committee members were called to the Statehouse and were discussing alternatives to a sales tax increase, panel chairman Lou Greenwald said.

The Senate is scheduled to meet on Monday, and Senate President Richard J. Codey has told senators to be ready to stay in session until a budget is adopted.

"Let's get on with getting this problem solved," Corzine said while touring a state police dispatch center in Hamilton on Sunday, emphasizing he couldn't "sign a bill that doesn't exist."

Republicans, the minority party in both the Assembly and Senate, have expressed frustration.

"I'm appalled that this reached this stage," said Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance, R-Hunterdon. "It is very unfortunate that the Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in the Legislature could not achieve a budget in place by June 30, and now all the people of New Jersey suffer as a result."

Some lottery sellers - and many customers - were surprised to learn that the games were being put on hold until the budget impasse is resolved.

And it all comes down to the political reality that people (and especially voters) don't like tax increases. Even in liberal states like New Jersey. No word on the impact this might have for the People-Powered Movement who keep pushing for tax increases for a variety of social programs... and by "people powered", I'm specifically referring to the top-down, autocratic movement set up by Kos and his friend with SEC problems.

Having to shut down the state lottery will have a huge impact on the electorate once they realize it's because of the Democrats in Trenton.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (5)
Bobbb - Citizen of Earth said...

Don't look for solutions - just blame it on the Dems
Good way to be thinking on America's birthday
I wonder what the founding fathers would think about our blind partisan loyalties?
You Dems and Repubs make me laugh
you squable like undiciplened, spoiled little children. You blame every little thing on each other - ans solve absolutely nothing at all.

St Wendeler said...

Such insight. such brilliance! Such wit!

I know that as an objective observer that "Talks Earth" (?!?), you're a non-partisan, fact-based kind of guy.

Oh, and by the way... the post was on Monday, not on the 4th of July. To see my 4th of July post, go here.

So... your comment saying "Good Way to be thinking on America's birthday" is just plain wrong. Sorry to nitpick, but it seems to be a sport that you're into.

Bobbb - Citizen of Earth said...

Don't make me laugh
As much as I like shooting fish in a barrel, I have better things to do

Pick your own nits - if you get down to the drugstore - they have a special comb to help with that

Or just blame it on the Dems, or the tree huggers - or you can write to Rush in prison if you run out of ideas...

saintknowitall said...

The real question is why do casinos have to shut down when the government shuts down???? It is called "over reaching governmetn regulation".

Stupid Country said...

I do live in New Jersey, and I don't buy your thesis that this situation "all comes down to the political reality that people (and especially voters) don't like tax increases."

What it comes down to is this: We have a state constitution that requires a balanced budget. As in all states that have this kind of constraint, balance in past deficit spending years has tended to be achieved by (a) cynical accounting tricks and (b) lots of jawboning by legislators about cutting wasteful spending, closing loopholes and cleaning up (insert name of the party you don't belong to) corruption. What no one ever does is to actually identify the line items that constitute sufficient waste and corruption to make a noticeable difference in budget balancing.

The new Governor is a Democrat and the former CEO of Goldman Sachs. He found himself staring down a bloc of fellow Democrats who form a majority in the legislature and who could not find the cojones to associate themselves with a tax increase, even if the state is $4.5 billion in the hole. The Governor -- to his credit, I believe -- insisted that there be no such shell games on his watch.

The Republicans are in the minority and can afford to sit back and enjoy the spectacle. Are they any more responsible than the Democrats? Doubtful; their standard bearer in the last gubernatorial race, Doug Forrester, ran on a platform promising to cut property taxes in the state an average of 30% in three years, which would be the Holy Grail in this state -- but of course, the devil is in the details, and the details smelled mostly like wishful thinking and snake oil. Forrester lost by a bunch.

The Governor insisted that the sales tax increase he proposed be dedicated to closing the budget gap, but the legislators argued that it should be channeled into a fund to provide property tax relief. Ultimately, they split the difference -- half the sales tax increase goes to property tax relief. This is a bad solution. Raising the sales tax, which everyone pays, to provide property tax reductions, benefitting disproportionately the more affluent communities who pay the highest property taxes, is regressive. But the deal got the state working again.

To answer saintknowitall's question, casinos have to have state monitors on site at all times, to make sure they're operating according to law and state is getting its fair share of the take. They're state employees who got furloughed along with all the other non-essentials. Overreaching? Sounds fair to me in a mostly-cash business that owes its legality in New Jersey to the irresistible flow of tax revenue it provides. Anyway, I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for casino-owners.

Jon Corzine will take a lot of flak for even uttering the words "tax increase" and state Democrats will be the butt of a lot of jokes for a while, but I think Corzine ought to be recognized for having the backbone to stare down his own ostensible allies in the legislature this way and living up to his campaign commitments to run the state responsibly.