There they go again -- big government deciding that it knows better than the locals, grabbing more authority for itself and creating a brand-new bureaucracy with lots of jobs to fill. I predict outrage -- let me rephrase that, I would have predicted outrage if President Obama had proposed something like this, but since a massive takeover of Atlantic City was proposed by conservative hero Chris Christie, it must be okay.
The commission's report calls for the creation of a new authority to take over the Atlantic City casino district, and in effect become a separate government within Atlantic City.
The new authority would answer directly to the governor. Boardwalk Hall and the convention center would fall under the new authority, and the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority would be shut down. Revenue collected by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority would stay in Atlantic City instead of being distributed around the state.
I heard some radio coverage of this earlier today, and one of the big ideas that Big Government Christie is pushing here is that Atlantic City, which is struggling because of (shhhhh...don't tell conservatives!) free-market competition from places like Pennsylvania and our fabulous new warehouse-inspired casinos, can compete if it just tried to be more of a resort destination. What a novel idea! I think I heard that one when "the Chicken Man" and "those racket boys" were still a gleam in Bruce Springsteen's eye.
When I was in Georgia earlier this year, writing about extremist Rep. Paul Broun for my book, a woman stood up at event and said a lot of her Peach State neighbors were against Obama's policies mainly because of "who was proposing it." I would expect the same phenomenon here, but in reverse.