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Christie: I won't let Atlantic City file for bankruptcy

Thursday, March 31, 2016   (0 Comments)
Share | 3/31/2016

Gov. Chris Christie emphasized Wednesday night (March 30)  that he won't allow Atlantic City to file for bankruptcy if it runs out of money in the coming weeks — his latest warning in the ongoing fight over how to save New Jersey's only gambling resort from financial catastrophe. Speaking on his monthly radio show, Christie also offered some of his most stinging criticisms of his opponents in the battle, Mayor Don Guardian and state Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, comparing them to co-captains of the Titanic. The remarks comes a little more than a week before Atlantic City faces a possible three-week government shutdown because it can't make payroll. Christie has said he will sign an aid package only if it comes with legislation that would allow the state to take over large parts of the local government. But city officials say the takeover goes too far and that they might have to seek bankruptcy if more the state doesn't provide the aid. And while the state Senate has approved the takeover, Prieto (D-Hudson) said he won't put it up for a vote in his chamber because the plan would trample on unions' collective bargaining rights. Still, the city cannot file for bankruptcy without the state's permission, and Christie said Wednesday he won't give the green light. He reiterated that him signing the aid and takeover together is the only option. Host Eric Scott suggested that without bankruptcy, Atlantic City would begin defaulting on its debt, and that would make it harder for other municipalities in the state to bond. But Christie noted that experts say bankruptcy would hurt the credit ratings of towns all over New Jersey. Guardian has argued that Christie promised the aid package to Atlantic City but vetoed in January, leaving the city with a $33.5 million hole in its budget. Christie repeated Wednesday that he is not giving the city more money without the takeover because local officials have "spent like drunken sailors." Christie added that Guardian once agreed to the takeover. But, he suggested, Prieto talked him out of it because his ally, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, plans to run for the Democratic nomination for governor next year. 

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