FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Chris Donnelly
August 3, 2016 732-280-9600
NEW ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN ‘OUR TURN NJ’ LAUNCHES TO EDUCATE ON BENEFITS OF GAMING EXPANSION
Begins Airing Television, Radio & Digital Ads
Roseland - OUR Turn NJ, a 501c4 public issue advocacy campaign dedicated to educating New Jerseyans on the benefits of expanding gaming to northern New Jersey, announced its official launch today. The campaign, through a wide range of grass roots public engagement and advertising tactics, will work to raise awareness of the billions of dollars that can be recaptured and the thousands of jobs that can be created by New Jersey if voters approve gaming expansion this November. It has also launched a website, OURTURNNJ.com.
Over the last decade, gaming has expanded outside of Atlantic City to neighboring states like Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York. This expansion allowed our neighbors to steal $15 billion of our gaming revenue for more than ten years. Gaming revenue in New Jersey, through the Casino Revenue Fund (CRF), pays for programs critical to our seniors and those with disabilities. Because of the gaming revenue losses, funding for these programs from the CRF has fallen dramatically. In Fiscal Year 2006, the CRF contributed $500 million dollars to fund these programs. By Fiscal Year 2014 that number fell to $221 million dollars, despite there being a greater need for these funds. That loss in funding, $1.8 billion total over that time period, was made up by the taxpayers of New Jersey. Moreover, from FY2006 and FY2015 New Jersey’s senior population increased from 1,129,356 to 1,313,503, a jump of 16.31%. (See attached charts for breakdowns on New Jersey gaming revenue).
The loss of $1.8 billion in funding has not only taken more money out of the pockets of New Jersey taxpayers, it has meant less money in the state budget to fund other vital state programs such as pensions, transportation improvements, local aid, and school funding. Recapturing these gaming dollars that have been taken from us by our neighbors would free up hundreds of millions of dollars a year that could be put towards these and other critical programs.
Earlier this year, the state Legislature approved placing on the November ballot a constitutional amendment that would expand gaming to northern New Jersey, allowing for two new casinos. Nearly three-fourths of the Legislature voted in favor of the amendment, which was also supported by Governor Christie.
By allowing entertainment destinations with gaming to be built in northern New Jersey, voters can assist in creating 43,000 jobs in the region. These venues would include local hiring commitments that will support thousands of new and existing jobs in New Jersey, create opportunities for local workforce training programs and partnerships with the area’s educational institutions, and benefit residents through ironclad community benefit agreements privately funded by developers.
Two new entertainment and gaming destinations are projected to generate $500 million dollars a year in tax revenue to help our local communities and reduce the tax burden on New Jersey taxpayers, including keeping property taxes stable. Applicants have to commit to investing at least $1 billion of private funding into each project and will not receive any public subsidies.
Casino operators will pay:
-A local host community fee;
-Income taxes; and
Gaming expansion will also provide support to New Jersey’s horse racing industry which, despite troubling times, still supports over 14,000 jobs. Racetracks in neighboring states currently combine horse racing with casino gaming, enabling their purses to be significantly higher than New Jersey’s. The industry is important to the open space preservation of thousands of acres of horse farms — many in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Total racing purses and wagering on horse racing have dropped nearly 50% since 2010. Gaming expansion will help the industry compete with neighboring states.
OUR Turn NJ also announced it is releasing television, radio and digital ads as it begins its efforts to educate the public on the benefits of gaming expansion. These ads will begin airing today. The television ad, entitled “OUR Turn”, can be viewed here (also see attached fact sheet): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXcw4Dhiig4&feature=youtu.be
When is it OUR turn, New Jersey?
To protect our seniors and those with disabilities— who are losing funding for programs critical to their quality of life.
New York and Pennsylvania have stolen billions of our gaming revenue, robbing us of dollars to fund programs like Meals-on-Wheels and the property tax freeze.
New Jersey, Now it’s OUR turn...
Vote YES and support gaming expansion in Northern New Jersey to protect our seniors.
Let’s take back what is OURS.
The radio ad is entitled “OUR Turn”:
When is it OUR turn, New Jersey?
To protect OUR seniors and those with disabilities— who are losing funding for critical programs?
New York and Pennsylvania have stolen billions of OUR gaming revenue that fund programs like Meals-on-Wheels and the property tax freeze.
Now it’s OUR turn...
To vote YES and support gaming expansion in Northern New Jersey……. to protect OUR seniors.
New Jersey…it’s time to take back what is OURS.
Visit OURTURNNJ.com to learn more.
Paid for by OUR Turn NJ
OUR Turn NJ is being supported by Paul Fireman and Jeffrey Gural. Paul Fireman is currently the Chairman of Fireman Capital Partners. From 1979 to 2006, Paul was Chairman & CEO of Reebok International Ltd in Canton, Massachusetts. In 1998, Paul began two decades of commitment to investing in New Jersey when he spent several hundred million dollars of his own money to turn a former industrial waste site on the shores of the Hudson River in Jersey City into Liberty National Golf Course. Liberty has some of the most scenic views of any golf course in the country, has twice hosted the PGA Tour’s Barclays Tournament, and will be hosting the prestigious President’s Cup in the fall of 2017. Paul and his wife, Phyllis, are co-founders of the Paul & Phyllis Fireman Family Foundation in their native Massachusetts. The Fireman Family Foundation, one of Massachusetts’ largest, seeks to end family homelessness and benefit the communities in which the family members live and work.
New Meadowlands Racing Chairman Jeffrey Gural’s passion is horse racing, with which he has actively been involved in for over 40 years. He runs the Meadowlands Racetrack as well as several other tracks in the region. Gural has been a leader in cleaning up the harness racing industry, as he is the only racetrack owner in North America that spends his own money on out-of-competition testing to ensure that the horses racing at his facilities are drug free. When the state was going to close the old Meadowlands Racetrack, Jeff organized a group of investors to build a new $120 million dollar grandstand that helped preserve the harness racing industry in New Jersey as well as 600 union jobs. In addition, the Meadowlands Racetrack contributes almost $3 million in shared services and PILOT payments with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
“The reality is that gaming has already expanded outside of Atlantic City, but New Jersey has not taken advantage of it. Creating world class entertainment destinations with gaming will attract visitors both from the region and across the world. We have a whole new opportunity in northern New Jersey to bring millions of dollars back to the state, fund critical programs, and create thousands of jobs. These funds belong here, where they can help our seniors and create jobs,” said Fireman.
“New Jersey has been losing money for years because other states expanded gaming. Billions of dollars have left the state, hurting important programs and stunting economic growth. Unfortunately, the talk about gaming expansion hasn’t focused on this critical issue. We firmly believe that once the public learns about the true value of expanding gaming, they will overwhelmingly support it,” said Gural.
Fireman and Gural have each proposed building gaming venues in northern New Jersey. Paul has proposed a full service, high-end destination resort with gaming in Jersey City, to be built outside of the downtown, next to Liberty National Golf Course in an industrial section of the city. Paul’s project, known as Liberty Rising, would be a world-class destination resort with gaming, restaurants, retail space, and entertainment venues. It would be built with a high-class, modern design that would rival entertainment destinations around the world.
Jeff has proposed building an entertainment and gaming venue in the Meadowlands, situated away from residential neighborhoods. The proposed facility would be a full service casino with restaurants, a New Jersey Music Hall of Fame and a music memorabilia museum. It would be located next to the Meadowlands Racetrack, where infrastructure already exists to bring thousands of visitors to the location.
The Liberty Rising and Meadowlands sites are both located in nonresidential areas. Should the locations be chosen, both Paul and Jeff have agreed not to accept any taxpayer dollars whatsoever for the projects. The locations are unique in that they offer the best chance to regain the funding that has left New Jersey. Over 18 million people reside within a 50 mile radius of both sites, and the median household income for this radius is $101,000, nearly double the United States’ average. Moreover, the locations are within direct proximity to New York City, and its 55 million annual visitors.
New Jersey’s political, business, and civic leaders have come out in support of OUR Turn NJ’s goals because they understand the positive impact that can be realized with a yes vote this November. (For additional quotes, please go to www.ourturnnj.com)
“The enormous economic benefit of gaming expansion is simply too great to ignore. We are talking about billions of dollars in private investment that would create a huge boost to New Jersey’s economy and provide jobs for thousands of people. This is exactly the kind of opportunity working people in this state need. Gaming expansion means construction jobs, but also investment and development of the surrounding communities, meaning more jobs and dollars at the local level.”
Executive Secretary Treasurer, Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters
“In my industry we have not yet bounced back from the recession. Other states like Pennsylvania and New York are blowing the doors off of their jobs numbers, but not in New Jersey. If we expand gaming we can take back what is ours – our revenue for senior programs, thousands of our jobs and investment in a state the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades. Now is our opportunity to recapture this revenue, these jobs and our future. The people of New Jersey need to support this question and get New Jersey back to work.”
Business Manager/Financial Secretary Treasurer, Plumbers Local 24
“New Jersey is dealing with several critical issues that will require significant sources of funding, including fixing our transportation and transit systems and our crumbling water and sewer pipes. These issues, among many others, are coming to a head in our state. New Jersey is going to need all available sources of revenue it can find to solve these problems. That means stopping the billions of dollars that other states are robbing from us, and keeping them here in New Jersey. With gaming expansion, we are looking at billions of dollars in private investment in addition to the dollars being recaptured from out-of-state gaming. This is not an opportunity we can take a pass on.”
-Robert Briant, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer, Utility & Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey
“Expanding gaming would result in the construction of not just casinos, but also hotels, entertainment venues, retail stores, resorts, and additional attractions as well as the creation the thousands of construction and permanent operations jobs that come with these projects. This would provide additional choices for both New Jersey residents and visitors thereby strengthening one of our key business sectors: hospitality and tourism. This kind of private economic investment is not something we can afford to reject. Our neighboring states have been taking these kinds of dollars from us for far too long. Now is the time for New Jersey to act upon a unique opportunity to set the stage for the investment to take place here and realize and all the economic benefits that come with it.”
President, Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey
“We are looking at several billion dollars in private investment for the state. This means thousands of direct and indirect jobs including casino and related development projects. We would also see training programs that will help provide long-term, well paying, middle class jobs to residents. Those are jobs that my members cannot afford to miss out on. It is New Jersey’s turn to take back what is ours and put our people to work.”
President, Hudson County Building and Construction Trades Council
“Expanding gaming in New Jersey will allow the state to reap the benefits of rebuilding and reenergizing North and South Jersey, two of the country’s great destinations. This will have long lasting revenue impacts by recapturing billions in out of state gaming dollars. This is important, because these revenues pay for programs that are vital to seniors and those with disabilities. In addition, gaming expansion would generate millions of dollars in nongaming revenue, as hotels, entertainment, hospitality venues and retail stores are built in the surrounding communities. There is no reason other states should be getting the benefits of money that can be spent here in our great state. Let’s leverage these needed resources for ALL of New Jersey.”
President & CEO, Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce
"Gaming expansion is about more than just casinos. It’s about creating world class resorts that will bring travelers from all over the world. That means thousands of construction jobs in the short-term of course, but it also means thousands of long-term jobs that are created from the economic boost seen in the surrounding communities. For too long, we have sat back and watched billions of dollars go to other states, while New Jersey struggled. That must stop. New Jersey cannot afford – literally – to let this opportunity pass it by.”
Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825
“The prospect of gaming expansion in North Jersey is a tremendous opportunity to improve the welfare of our state and its national recognition as a premiere tourist destination. Expanding gaming in the state would help alleviate budget strains, produce new jobs and revenue, and fund key programs and services – all without raising taxes. It’s now New Jersey’s turn to act on gaming expansion. As Chairman of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey – the voice of 80,000 Hispanic business owners – I fully support casino gaming expansion.”
Chairman, The Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey
“This is an opportunity for a multi-billion dollar investment that will put thousands of construction workers to work, create permanent casino jobs and generate economic opportunities for the entire region. A new casino in the North Jersey market will boost the state’s economy, put people to work, strengthen the casino industry, aid Atlantic City’s financial recovery, and generate revenue to help senior citizens and the disabled.”
-William Mullen, President, New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council
“New Jersey needs responsible gaming expansion. We need revenue to support programs for our children, those with disabilities, and senior citizens. We need development that is conducted in a way that changes the global perspective of our entire state. Statewide, the revenue we take back from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York will fund the most important programs for our state’s most vulnerable populations. All of these benefits are in addition to thousands of jobs for the state’s residents, and all at no cost whatsoever to taxpayers. That revenue belongs here in New Jersey and we shouldn't let antiquated laws and regulations hold us back. Now is our time to act.”
-Raymond M. Pocino
Vice President and Eastern Regional Manager, Laborers’ International Union of North America
“Gaming expansion is going to provide a tremendous economic boost to New Jersey. When I go out every day, my main focus is putting my members to work, the ones who have been sitting home because they have not had an opportunity to work in six months. By expanding gaming to North Jersey, we are going to create thousands upon thousands of jobs, both for my members and for communities throughout New Jersey. We have allowed gaming dollars to flow to our neighboring states for too long. We have a chance now to take back what is ours and provide for our people. We have to seize that opportunity right now!”
President, Bergen County Building and Construction Trades Council
“The New Jersey Business & Industry Association supports efforts to expand the footprint of casino gambling beyond Atlantic City’s borders in order to revitalize an important state industry, create new jobs and stimulate the state’s economy. If we don’t act now, our neighboring states will continue to pose a competitive threat. If casino gambling ever comes to the Manhattan area, which is actively being contemplated, the game will be over. We need to make New Jersey competitive with our neighboring states.”
President and CEO, New Jersey Business and Industry Association
“The expansion of gaming into northern New Jersey is an unprecedented opportunity that we cannot pass up. It will result in tens of thousands of good paying jobs, both short and long-term, and will be a much needed economic boost for the state. With unemployment within the African-American community nearly double that of New Jersey’s unemployment rate the issue of JOBS must be addressed. NO OTHER ISSUE could have as great a social and economic impact on the African-American community. These dollars are currently being spent in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland when they can be spent right here in New Jersey. Expanding gaming to North Jersey will bring these funds back to our state.”
President, New Jersey NAACP
“A wide range of programs are funded by gaming revenue, with a large focus on providing necessary services to those with disabilities. For example, those with disabilities receive aid via the Casino Revenue Fund through programs like Developmental Disabilities Residential Care and Disability Services Personal Assistance. This is clear proof that gaming revenue has a real world impact on New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents. We have to stop the flow of these dollars going to other states. New Jersey has an opportunity right now to reclaim these funds for our residents with disabilities. For this reason we support the expansion of casino gaming to Northern New Jersey.”
Executive Director, Alliance Center for Independence
"Gaming expansion to Northern New Jersey means stopping the flow of dollars that are being spent in our neighboring states, and instead keeping that revenue here in New Jersey. It also will boost our state and local economies and provide funding for programs that are crucial to our most vulnerable residents. We will not see another opportunity like this in our lifetime. New Jersey must seize the moment and vote to create thousands of jobs, both in the construction industry and permanent good paying jobs to operate the casinos. Voting yes on the public question this election day will accomplish this.”
President, New Jersey AFL-CIO