Atlantic City Casino Tax Plan Still Undecided

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has yet to act on a package of bills that would set a fixed payment in lieu of taxes for Atlantic City casinos. The delay comes as reports say an emergency financial manger appointed by Christie to oversee Atlantic City’s finances wants changes to the bill.

Several mayors of neighboring towns also want Christie to conditionally veto the bill until an agreement on how the casino’s Atlantic County taxes will be paid is formalized.

There’s still no word on whether New jersey Governor Chris Christie will sign of veto a bill to set a fixed payment in lieu of taxes plan for Atlantic City’s casinos covering the next 15 years.

But there are signs it’s getting complicated.

Reports say Kevin Lavin, the resort’s emergency manager appointed by Christie to oversee the city’s troubled finances wants changes to the bill. Christie could ask the State Legislature for changes through a conditional veto.

The Press of Atlantic City reported that Atlantic City Solicitor Jason Holt said in an e-mail obtained by the paper that “it is my understanding that the governor’s emergency management team has recommended changes to the pending legislation.”

The e-mail did not say what those changes are.

Meanwhile, officials for Atlantic County are still concerned that the bill does not set aside provisions for casino tax payments to the county. An agreement reached earlier this year allocating 13.5 percent of the payments to the county seemed to solve the issue, but it has not been formalized.

That led several mayors of surrounding towns—who would have to shoulder any decrease in the resort’s county taxes—to adopt a resolution to ask Christie for a conditional veto until the previous agreement is formalized and included in the bills.

Bill Nowling, spokesman for Lavin, told the Press, that Lavin has discussed the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes legislation with staffers from the offices of Christie and State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, but did not provide any details.

The PILOT package, composed of five bills, was passed in the Legislature last month. If Christie were to issue a conditional veto, the Legislature—currently out of session for the summer—would need to approve the governor’s changes before the bills become law.