Atlantic City casino income is down 34 percent. Is it really competition or is New Jersey’s high cost of living to blame?
On Aug. 18, The Asbury Park Press reported that, according to the Casino Control Commission, casino revenues fell 34 percent due to slot parlor competition in New York and Pennsylvania. Partially true. The actual decline is due to loss of discretionary income of middle and lower income and retired residents of New Jersey. These New Jersey residents are not going to New York or Pennsylvania to play slots. They’re finding less expensive ways to entertain themselves.
The 11 Atlantic City casinos’ quarterly net income was down $33.5 million compared to the same quarter a year ago. That’s an annual decrease of $134 million annually that New Jersey will not collect corporate income tax on. Not to mention the loss of Atlantic City jobs. Gov. Jon S. Corzine, with Democratic control of both the state Assembly (50-30) and Senate (22-18) raised and added new taxes and is now considering raising highway tolls. Why not take more money away from the consumer? In his effort to prolong the inevitable – bankruptcy – New Jersey’s debt service will increase by $4 billion.
When Gov. Corzine increased the cigarette tax to $2.40 a pack, the net result was New Jersey received $23 million less in cigarette taxes than in fiscal year 2006. New Jersey is the only state in the nation to experience a decline in cigarette taxes. Delaware’s cigarette sales have increased substantially. Do you think New Jersey smokers are spending their money out of state?
When will this administration get it? Increasing taxes reduces consumer spending. If taxes were reduced consumers would spend, businesses would prosper, spend money and employ more workers. New Jersey’s economy would flourish and our state’s tax revenues would increase.
New Jersey’s debt has doubled since 2000 to $30 billion, the fourth most indebted state in the country, adding another sad distinction for our residents. I will think long and hard about whom I vote for in our next election. I suggest you do the same. More taxes or bankruptcy, what will it be?