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Assemblyman John Armato. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

GOP says Armato wrong on PILOT program

By David Wildstein, October 12 2021 9:03 pm

Republicans say that Assemblyman John Armato (D-Buena) sided with casino owners by sponsoring legislation that would remove online gambling and sports betting from a payment-in-lieu of taxes (PILOT) program that benefits Atlantic City and county government.

Legislation creating the 10-year PILOT initiative in 2016 as a way of stabilizing finances in Atlantic City.  Armato’s running mate, Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield), sponsored the Casino Property Tax Stabilization Act.

“Time and again we have to fight for taxpayers against special interests, and John Armato clearly had those special interests in mind when he introduced that bill,” said GOP Assembly candidate Don Guardian, a former mayor of Atlantic City.  “Casinos are doing extraordinarily well with online gambling and sports betting becoming more popular. Now is not the time to give casino executives a break when the hard working taxpayers of Atlantic County are already hurting.”

Armato became the lone Assembly sponsor of legislation in May, but has not moved out of the State and Local Government Committee.

“Assemblyman Armato lost his way,” said another Republican Assembly candidate, Claire Swift. “Casino owners don’t need our help, Atlantic County taxpayers do. Let’s start a conversation on that, instead of avoiding it and supporting the reckless fiscal policies of Governor Murphy and Trenton Democrats.”

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