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By Fred Barnes

It is rumored that the budget deficit for the next fiscal year may exceed ten billion dollars. Anyone who is familiar with the budget knows there are very few programs that remain that can be cut. Between mandated programs and prior commitments such as generous pensions and lifetime health care, little remains to be eliminated.

One of the candidates running for Governor, in order to reduce the deficit, is offering as a solution, the extension of the sales tax to service oriented business such as lawyers, accountants and all other services offered to the public. The rationale for such an expansion is that these services are used by the more wealthy state citizens and will not be an additional tax burden on the middle class. As a businessperson, you use these services every day even though you are not among the wealthy. With the number of Attorneys in the Legislature, the chance of extending the sales tax is nil.

The acknowledgment that additional income is needed in order to balance the budget, suggests that the idea of video lottery in licensed establishments should again be revisited.

Anyone who has the welfare of New Jersey in mind must want gambling in Atlantic City to prosper and succeed. The City provides needed revenue for the State, provides thousands of jobs and gives many tourists another reason to visit our State for entertainment. Promoting Atlantic City is necessary if New Jersey is to achieve financial stability.

NJLBA believes that allowing video lottery in licensed premises can positively promote Atlantic City, provide the gaming industry and State with needed income and give an additional entertainment feature to the alcohol beverage industry. No way can video lottery hurt Atlantic City.

It is conservatively estimated that the State could realize more than $400,000,000 dollars in the first year of operation with the revenue increasing every year thereafter. With modern technology; the machines could advertise Atlantic City events, issue coupons and promote the industry.

No licensed premise can compete with the glitz and ambiance of a gambling Mecca but they could stop the exodus to the neighboring states of Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware keeping those gambling dollars in New Jersey. Don’t extend the sales tax to increase revenue. Allow licensed premises to have video lottery.

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