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Accusations Continue Flying Over New Jersey Tax Proposal

4 June 2003

TRENTON, New Jersey –As reported by the Press of the Atlantic City: "The testy battle over Gov. James E. McGreevey's casino-tax proposal continued Tuesday, with accusations that the administration is threatening to muzzle Atlantic City's gaming halls for opposing the revenue plan.

"At the core of the accusations are a pair of radio advertisements the Casino Association used two weeks ago to blast McGreevey's plan to raise current, and impose new, taxes on the gaming industry.

"State Sen. Bill Gormley, R-Atlantic, charged in a letter apparently hand-delivered to acting state Attorney General Peter Harvey on Tuesday that a McGreevey aide issued a `not so veiled threat' against the gaming industry in connection with the radio advertisements.

" …[McGreevey Communications Director Kathleen Ellis] said the Governor's Office "may try to punish" the gaming halls by using a portion of the state Casino Control Act that forbids the gaming halls from contributing to a political candidate.

"Gormley argues that while the law clearly prohibits casinos from contributing to political parties and candidates, it can in no way be construed to prohibit the anti-tax actions take by the gaming industry.

"…McGreevey, who apparently had not read Gormley's letter, was quick to criticize the casinos Tuesday for opposing his tax plan as a way to balance the state budget.

"…McGreevey has proposed raising $135 million by raising the tax on casino revenue from 8 percent to 10 percent, and imposing the state sales tax on complimentary meals and rooms offered to casino patrons.

"Tuesday's flare-up came one day after McGreevey apparently agreed to reduce the tax plan to $90 million…"

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