Casinos to reopen tomorrow?

As far as Atlantic City’s concerned, it looks like the whole “budget impasse” is going to result in little more than two days’ LWOP (leave without pay) for many workers and loads of bad publicity. It could have been worse. Apparently, the guv will get his tax hike, and state employees will be headed back to work. From Newsday:

New Jersey’s governor and lawmakers reached a deal Thursday on a new state budget, six days into a state government shutdown that shuttered casinos and threw more than 80,000 people out of work.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine said a government shutdown that closed casinos and furloughed thousands of workers will end in the next 24 to 36 hours. He cautioned that the budget accord was not cause for celebration, because too many residents’ lives were disrupted.

“We have much more to do in the coming months and years to fix our state’s public finances,” he said.

The deal will increase the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent and use half the $1.1 billion that it will raise to help lower property taxes, which are among the highest in the nation. It allows the possibility that, in future years, the entire increase will go to property tax relief.

“I honestly think that in the end with the agreement that we have reached, our state and more importantly our citizens are all emerging as winners,” said Senate President Richard J. Codey.

Corzine shut down non-essential government operations on Saturday after the Legislature failed to pass a budget by the July 1 deadline.

More than 45,000 state workers were furloughed, including those who staff state parks and beaches and the gambling inspectors who keep an eye on the casinos. Without the gambling inspectors, Atlantic City’s dozen casinos had to shut their doors Wednesday, putting 36,000 casino employees out of work.

The governor’s staff didn’t immediately know Thursday how quickly shuttered activities such as horse racing, casino gambling and the lottery would resume. The casinos stood to lose more than $16 million a day while shut down, and the state would lose an estimated $1.3 million a day in the taxes they normally generate.

New Jersey Budget Deal Reached –

There are no winners in this story, but at least the damage was mitigated.

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