- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Dueling plans to help Atlantic City and its eight struggling casinos have been advanced by Democratic and Republican state legislators.

One plan proposed by State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Sen. James Whelan, both Democrats, is up for final votes Thursday in both houses of the state Legislature, and could be on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk by the end of the day.

Another unveiled Wednesday by Republican Assemblyman Chris Brown won’t be formally introduced as legislation until early next year after being discussed at the next installment of a Christie-convened summit on Atlantic City’s future.

Here’s a look at how the two plans compare:

CASINO TAXES:

Dem: Exempts casinos from property taxes for 15 years. Casinos collectively pay $150 million a year for two years, then $120 million a year for 13 years, assuming gambling revenue remains within certain ranges.

GOP: Taxes on all taxable property in Atlantic City, including casinos, would be frozen at 2014 levels for five years. Brown estimates annual casino payments would be about $160 million.

CITY FINANCES:

Dem: Redirects an alternative casino investment tax - currently used for redevelopment projects - to pay down $25 million to $30 million of Atlantic City’s debt in each of the next 15 years. Creates a new category of state education aid - applicable only to Atlantic City - to make up for the fact that its property has declined by 32 percent over the past five years.

GOP: Requires unspecified cuts to city budget; requires the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to make a $5 million payment in lieu of taxes to the city and direct $10 million of casino investment alternative taxes to the city; splits $25 million in unused CRDA grant money between the city and Atlantic County for tax relief; diverts $7.5 million from the Atlantic City Alliance’s $30 million annual marketing budget to the city.

SCHOOL TAXES:

Dem: Creates new category of state aid applicable only to Atlantic City.

GOP: Does not specifically mention school taxes.

COUNTY TAXES:

Dem: Does not specifically mention county taxes.

GOP: Uses $12.5 million in CRDA grant money for county tax relief.

ATLANTIC CITY ALLIANCE:

Dem: Abolishes the nonprofit agency that markets Atlantic City to the rest of the country and hosts large public events such as free beach concerts, fireworks and an air show, using its $30 million budget to help the city in other ways.

GOP: Retains the ACA and at least $15 million of its budget for continued marketing of the resort.


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