A day after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed an aid package that blew a $33.5 million hole in their budget, officials of cash-strapped Atlantic City said they are considering asking the state for permission to file for bankruptcy.
Mayor Don Guardian, a Republican, and City Council President Marty Small, a Democrat, met Wednesday with the Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, asking him to oppose a proposed state takeover of the city. After emerging from the meeting, Guardian and Small said the City Council will hold an emergency meeting next week to consider a bankruptcy filing, which must be sanctioned by the state.
Christie, a Republican presidential candidate, vetoed a financial aid package for Atlantic City on Tuesday.
“Atlantic City government has been given over five years and two city administrations to deal with its structural budget issues and excessive spending,” said Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts. “It has not. The governor is not going to ask the taxpayers to continue to be enablers in this waste and abuse.”
It was the latest financial setback to hit the seaside resort. An emergency manager appointed by Christie has said the city could run out of cash by early April. The city also owes $160 million in tax appeals to just one of its eight casinos, the Borgata. Other casino tax appeals are likely, as well.
Atlantic City’s casino revenue has fallen from $5.2 billion in 2006 to $2.56 billion last year, and thousands of casino and related jobs have been lost. Four of the city’s 12 casinos shut down in 2014.