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New Jersey voters reject casino expansion outside Atlantic City

New JerseyNew Jersey voters rejected a measure that would have allowed casinos outside Atlantic City, but approved a referendum on the allocation of gas tax funds to the state's transportation costs. Voters said yes to the question asking whether every penny of the state's 37.5-cent per gallon gas tax should go exclusively to the transportation fund. The question of creating a so-called constitutional "lockbox" was viewed as a no-brainer by most lawmakers, but Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno came out opposed to the question recently.

She argued a yes vote amounts to a rubber stamp on $12 billion in state borrowing over eight years. The borrowing is part of a deal reached between Republican Gov. Chris Christie and the Democrat-led Legislature to raise the gas tax by 23 cents, cut other taxes and pay for transportation.

The ballot question did not mention the borrowing, which instead is contained in the legislation Christie signed into law.

The gambling question would have allowed for casinos outside Atlantic City for the first time in the state's 38-year history of legalized gambling.

The aim was to build two new casinos in the northern part of the state, near New York City, in an effort to recapture gambling revenue lost to casinos in Pennsylvania and New York; prop up struggling Atlantic City and the horse racing industry; and fund programs for seniors and the disabled.

Opponents argued adding new casinos to an already over-saturated market would cause at least three of Atlantic City's remaining seven casinos to close.

(Source: WABC News)



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