Christie: If AC Runs Out of Money, It’s The Assembly Speaker’s Responsibility
If a key Trenton lawmaker does not agree with a state takeover plan for Atlantic City, Gov. Chris Christie says he plans to wash his hands of the issue.
Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto said earlier this week the AC takeover plan "tramples" collective bargaining rights for municipal workers. He said takeover bills pending in Trenton need to be changed to ensure that the state cannot unilaterally cancel public employee contracts. That would be allowed the way the legislation is currently written.
Christie said if there is no agreement between his administration and both legislative bodies, "Atlantic City will be left to their own devices, and that will be the speaker's fault."
"I am not going to go down there and being given the responsibility for Atlantic City, without all of the tools at my disposal to be able to make it successful," Christie added.
Christie says that he and State Senate President Steve Sweeney have agreed on the plan that would give New Jersey control over the struggling resort city's finances.
"If the speaker does not want that, that is his preference, that's fine. But then whatever happens, when they run out of money and they cannot pay their bills, that's the Speaker's responsibility," Christie said. "It is not going to be my issue any longer. It is going to be Atlantic City's issue."
On NJ 101.5's "Ask The Governor" program earlier this week, Christie said Atlantic City's government is a "mess," and New Jersey will not bail AC out again.
Speaking at a Trenton news conference Thursday, Christie said he and Sweeney are in "complete concert" on this. Sweeney has introduced a bill in the state Senate that gives the state the right to cancel union contracts, sell city assets and land and declare bankruptcy.
Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian recently blasted the plan as a "fascist dictatorship," and said he is lining up other lawmakers to introduce a different financial recovery bill.