How much could North Jersey casino expansion cost New Jersey taxpayers?
Casinos will require additional roads, public transportation, and other major infrastructure changes with big price tags. But because the referendum is secretive in its details, failing to provide a location, specific tax rates, or how any potential revenues or costs would be managed, calculating how much gaming expansion could cost New Jersey residents is difficult to decipher.
With Trenton’s history of mismanaging taxpayer dollars – from the bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund, which has forced the shutdown of some $2.7 billion in state road works projects, to the state’s pension fund, which faces a $44 billion shortfall – as well as its failure to oversee major projects, like the “American Dream” project, it is likely that taxpayers will be forced to foot the bill for this costly expansion plan as well.
And with no clear tax rate in place, there is no way to calculate exactly what that bill could be. Some Trenton legislators have said the tax rate would range from 40 to 60 percent. One senate leader has argued it would need to be lower than 50 percent and casino owners have offered up to 55 percent. With no clear decision, New Jersey taxpayers remain in the dark once again.