New Jersey members of Congress appealed Tuesday to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to support a $29 million National Emergency Grant request to help workers left unemployed by recent casino closings in Atlantic City.
In a letter sent by Republican Rep. Frank LoBiondo and Democratic Sen. Cory A. Booker, Perez was urged to support the Atlantic City Re-Employment Initiative, a proposal to fund employer-driven training programs.
The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development filed the application for the grant late last month to address the needs of 8,000 people left without jobs after the recent closings of the Revel, Showboat, and Trump Plaza casinos and the earlier closing of the Atlantic Club.
About 14 percent of those laid-off workers have a bachelor's degree or higher. Just over 45 percent have a high school degree, according to the grant application. The grant proposes expanded training, placement, education, literacy, and on-the-job training grants to assist employers in hiring affected workers.
The letter was supported by Sen. Robert Menendez as well as Reps. Donald Norcross, Jon Runyan, Chris Smith, Frank Pallone, Albio Sires, Bill Pascrell, Donald Payne, and Rush Holt.
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney introduced legislation late Monday to stabilize the cratering finances of Atlantic City. His legislation would authorize casinos to collectively pay $150 million in lieu of taxes for two years and proposes redirecting a $25 million to $30 million alternate investment tax - currently used for redevelopment projects - to pay off the city's debt, which skyrocketed after a series of successful casino tax appeals.
Sweeney's plan stops short of calling for an emergency manager to take over municipal operations - a more drastic step advocated by Gov. Christie's adviser Jon Hanson. Instead, it calls for cuts to city and school budgets through existing state oversight powers stemming from the Transitional Aid Program and a memo of understanding with the city. Mayor Don Guardian is due in Trenton on Thursday to testify.