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Atlantic City manager eyes varying casino tax payments

January 5, 2016

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — An emergency manager appointed by Gov. Chris Christie for Atlantic City is suggesting that casino tax payments be reevaluated every few years.

The Press of Atlantic City (http://bit.ly/1mD4Gev ) reports Kevin Lavin is proposing changes to the centerpiece of an Atlantic City aid package, a bill that would let casinos make specified payments in lieu of taxes for 15 years.

Lavin wants the state to have the right to increase the amount due from the casinos based on revenue other than gambling winnings.

The point of the payment in lieu of taxes plan is to give the casinos predictability in their expenses, and prevent them from being able to appeal their taxes.

That’s something they have done successfully for years and which has helped create massive budget problems for Atlantic City.

The original PILOT bill was passed by the Legislature but vetoed by Christie in November. Last month, the Assembly passed a version with changes requested by the governor; the Senate still must vote on it.

Sen. James Whelan, a former Atlantic City mayor, predicted the change Lavin wants would be vigorously opposed by the city’s eight casinos.

“If we can get the casinos to pay more, then great,” he said. “I can tell you that from my conversation with several of the casinos, they’re not interested in revisiting the gross gaming revenue versus overall revenue issues.”

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