New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Urges More Democrat, Union Leaders to Support Legislation to Revitalize Atlantic City, Strengthen Pension System

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) urged Democrat legislative leaders and education and communications union officials to join two of the state’s largest public sector unions in supporting legislation to support both the revitalization of Atlantic City and the pension system.

Senator Pennacchio’s proposed constitutional amendment, SCR-134, would allow video slot wagering at New Jersey’s horse racing facilities. Revenues would support the state’s pension system and Atlantic City revitalization. (Pcb21/Wikimedia Commons)

In August, Senator Pennacchio introduced a constitutional amendment, SCR-134, to allow video slot wagering at the New Jersey horse racetracks. Under the proposal, which has been publicly endorsed by the Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association and the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association, revenue from the expanded gaming would be divided to support both the state’s pension system and the revitalization of Atlantic City.

“This is a win-win that could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to support the revitalization of Atlantic City and the futures of the state’s dedicated teachers, police and other public servants,” said Pennacchio. “It’s disturbing that as Atlantic City continues to lose jobs and revenue, Democrat legislative leaders continue to block voters from having the chance to decide this matter for themselves. One also has to question why the NJEA and CWA aren’t showing the same support for their workers’ futures as the police and fire unions.”

Under SCR134, which needs voter approval, the racinos would be run by a consortium of Atlantic City’s existing casinos. Fifty percent of those proceeds would be constitutionally dedicated to New Jersey’s public worker pension system, 40 percent would go to the consortium of Atlantic City casinos running the video slot machines and 10 percent would be provided for infrastructure and entertainment enhancements in Atlantic City.

This consortium would reward those casinos that still call Atlantic City, “home.” The bigger their presence in Atlantic City, the bigger their presence and profit on this consortium. No presence in Atlantic City means no presence on the consortium and its ability to enter into this profitable venture.

“As the PBA and fireman’s union have clearly expressed, allowing wagering at New Jersey’s four tracks is an innovative way to make our pension system solvent and put Atlantic City and its casinos on a better path forward,” Pennacchio added. “I hope my Democrat colleagues and the leaders of the unions representing the state’s other public worker unions will now set aside their own agendas to help push this measure forward.”

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