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Press of Atlantic City
April 3, 2009
TRENTON - A group representing the state's horse-racing and breeding industries presented a plan at an Assembly Budget Committee hearing Thursday they estimate would provide more than $1 billion in revenue to the state.
It's a plan the owners of Atlantic City casinos don't like, and, according to a recent poll, the majority of the state's residents don't either.
"We would hope that the Legislature would take a look at slots," said Thomas Luchento, president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey.
He and other representatives from the racehorse industry asked the Assembly Budget Committee to consider allowing slot machines, or video lottery terminals, to be placed in racetracks, spurring a spirited debate at the all-day hearing that among other things addressed public safety, economic development, transportation, environmental, arts, history and cultural issues.
Lawmakers have until June 30 to modify and approve the proposed $29.8 billion state spending package.
Horse-racing interests proposed slots even though they say the casinos have already rejected the plan, despite an offer to allow the casinos to own the machines. Michael Gulotta, CEO of Deo Volente Farms, a racehorse breeding facility in Hunterdon County, estimated placing slot machines in racetracks would garner $1.4 billion in additional revenue to the state, while also making money for the casinos.
With the beginning of a series of public hearings on Governor Corzine's introduced budget, Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Lou Greenwald gives an introductory statement, laying out the fundamental structure of the budget.
March 22, 2009
By Lou Greenwald
Reggie Davis-Johnson is his own man. He has a job, lives with roommates, and spends time with friends. He goes to Wawa to get his favorite coffee whenever he likes. Most of all, he's happy.
It wasn't always this way. Born with mental disabilities, Reggie was institutionalized for 18 years. Though he received excellent medical care, he was unable to make many decisions for himself. Since moving to a shared-living home in Voorhees, Reggie has flourished. More independent, he can achieve his full potential as a member of the community.
Reggie's success story is heartwarming, but rare. Unfortunately, New Jersey hasn't been progressive in providing those most in need - those suffering from mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilities - with the same opportunity.
Nationwide, 140 major institutions for the developmentally disabled have closed in the last 40 years; New Jersey has not closed one in 10 years. New Jersey has the third-highest rate of institutionalization, behind only Louisiana and Mississippi. And the state spends one-third of its developmental disability budget caring for only 8 percent of developmentally disabled New Jerseyans.
(TRENTON) – Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Louis D. Greenwald today announced that the panel will hold three public hearings as committee members begin their examination of Governor Jon Corzine’s proposed Fiscal Year 2010 state budget.
“Hearing directly from residents makes these among the most important sessions this committee ever holds,” said Greenwald (D-Camden). “Especially with the challenges we face this year, the input and ideas we receive from residents and community leaders will be invaluable.”
Greenwald said all three hearings will be held in Committee Room 11 of the State House Annex to maximize the building’s Internet capabilities and expand public access to the proceedings. All hearings will be carried live via the Internet – something that could not be done when the committee held its hearings in remote locations – and will be archived on the Office of Legislative Services’ Web site.
“In the past, the only way for the public to fully participate and follow these hearings was to physically attend them,” said Greenwald. “Now, every minute of these hearings will be easily accessible.”
The dates and topics for the public hearings are:
-March 24 – Health, Human Services, Senior, Family and Children’s Issues;
-March 26 – Education, Higher Education and Local Government Issues;
-April 2 – Public Safety, Economic Development, Transportation, Environment, Arts, History and Cultural Issues and any other subjects not listed.
Measure Would Create Jobs, Affordable Homes, Preserve Local Control
(VOORHEES)—Legislation Assemblyman Louis Greenwald (D-Camden) sponsored to permit developers of new housing construction projects currently restricted to those who are 55 and older to apply for elimination of the age restriction has been sent to Governor Jon Corzine for his signature into law.
“Jump-starting stalled housing construction projects is essential to jump-starting our economy,” said Greenwald (D-Camden). “Allowing some new age-restricted developments the opportunity to open doors to families of all ages will create jobs, provide working families affordable places to live and ensure local input remains a guiding factor of these development projects.”
Greenwald stressed that no 55-and-over development would be eligible for conversion if even one individual has already purchased or put down a deposit on a unit. Age-restricted developments where residents have already moved into homes similarly would be prohibited from conversion.
As reported by the Star-Ledger on February 15, 2009, New Jersey’s municipalities have approved an overabundance of 55-and-older age-restricted housing developments. Estimates suggest the oversupply of such age-restricted homes is between 15 to 20 years into the future, far outweighing current demand.