TRENTON – Senator Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, the Chairman of the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the State Comptroller’s audit uncovering rampant and pervasive waste and abuse of tax dollars in Atlantic City:
“As a former mayor and long-time resident of Atlantic City, I was very distressed to read of the uncontrolled, unchecked and wasteful spending unveiled in the State Comptroller’s audit of the city. The future vitality of Atlantic City requires that we clean up this mess and get Atlantic City back on the right fiscal track.
“To that end, I will be scheduling hearings of the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee to focus on the Comptroller’s findings and recommendations. I look forward to working with Governor Chris Christie, Mayor (Lorenzo) Langford and other stakeholders to address the systemic failures this report reveals.
“I’ve been calling for a larger State role in the operations of Atlantic City for some time now, because I believe we have a responsibility to local residents to demand more accountability for runaway spending and the rampant waste of tax dollars. But in addition, the entire State of New Jersey has a stake in Atlantic City’s success, particularly when the casino industry generates so much casino and tourism revenue for State coffers.
“Simply put, new investors won’t be willing to take a chance on Atlantic City if city government cannot fix the mistakes outlined in the State Comptroller’s audit.
“It’s possible to change the perception of Atlantic City government, and create more faith in public officials, but that can only be achieved through actions, and not words.
“The Comptroller’s report confirms our worst fears about waste and abuse of the taxpayer’s trust in Atlantic City, but it also maps out a new course for local government to clean up its act. I pledge to work with local officials, the business community, and all affected stakeholders to make sure that Atlantic City is successful in its reform efforts.”