New Jersey sues Atlantic City

In the meantime, Atlantic City is caught in the crossfire.

Gov. Chris Christie announced yesterday (Monday) the state is suing Atlantic City’s government for owing millions of dollars to the city’s school district.

US.- Gov. Chris Christie has announced that the state of New Jersey  is suing Atlantic City with the aim of forcing the local government to pay millions of dollars it owes to the city’s school district.

In the governor’s second Statehouse news conference on Atlantic City in less than a week, Christie accused city officials of using the money to stay afloat and “fund rich union contracts they’ve been unwilling to change.” The lawsuit was filed in a state Superior Court in Atlantic County by the state Department of Education. “This won’t fix the city’s own financial problems,” admitted Christie. “But it will prevent them from making Atlantic City students and their families collateral damage to their reckless financial games.”

State law requires municipalities across New Jersey to collect property tax payments on behalf of their schools and give those funds to their school districts in scheduled payments. However, Christie added that the Atlantic City’s municipal government has about US$10 million left and is neglecting the next payment to make a city payroll of US$3.2 million. The lawsuit aims to force the city to pay the US$34 million it owes to the school district from now until June, starting with an US$8.4 million installment on April 15.

The announcement comes after Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto told the press that no agreement was reached after a meeting with the governor to discuss the proposed legislation authorising the state to take over Atlantic City finances.

The reason why Prieto objects the measure is because it could allow the state to end collective bargaining agreements. The Speaker also called on Democratic Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney to amend the takeover legislation but didn’t make any specifications. “I have repeatedly said I am willing, but our core values of collective bargaining and fair labor practices should not be the first things on the chopping block,” expressed Prieto.