TRENTON – After convening a hearing of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee today to discuss the future of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono, the committee chair, questioned whether the current model of operation is still viable in light of the authority’s mounting debt and its new request for a $30 million subsidy from the state.
“Today the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee started an open, public look at the NJSEA’s finances and assets. Moving forward, we will have the State Auditor assist in this process. I plan to share this information with the Governor’s commission and work together with them to determine what should be done with the NJSEA and its assets going forward. These are valuable assets that have a significant bearing on the local, regional and statewide economy but they are not being put to their highest, best use. We need to change that.
“We had the chance to hear from a number of stakeholders, both within the Sports Authority and outside. Several things became abundantly clear. The state has been shouldering the authority’s debt at an increasing rate since 1992. Furthermore, the authority ventured far afield of its original mission as a result of decisions that were based on sports preferences rather than economic viability and sound land use planning. The operating model that worked in the early days of the authority has become unsustainable,” said Sen. Buono (D-Middlesex).
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