This is why New Jersey can't have nice casino towns: financial woes, and Atlantic City's are so dire that Gov. Chris Christie has issued a state takeover of the city of 40,000, reports NJ.com. "I can't wait any longer," said Christie today in simultaneously announcing an emergency management team—which includes a veteran of Detroit's bankruptcy—to help pull the city out of "an enormous hole," he said. "We need more aggressive action." That team replaces Atlantic City's mayor and city council. Christie's move isn't without precedent: The state also stepped in 13 years ago with Camden.
Unhappy with the move is Mayor Don Guardian, whose spokesman said last night that he is "opposed to any and all emergency manager and overseers, no matter who it is, what their name is." Today Guardian seemed more amenable, saying "cooperation" and "working together" are necessary, but the city council president is still unhappy. And, grumbled a state senator: "There's a philosophical question of we have an elected mayor and an elected council and we're just going to throw that out? On what basis? Detroit was in bankruptcy." Atlantic City's problems include:
- Four of its dozen casinos closed in the past year.
- More than 8,000 people lost jobs.
- A property tax base is poised to plunge from $11.3 billion this year to $8 billion next year.