State Senator Nick Sacco (D-32), also the North Bergen mayor, says that although Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) was adamant about bringing casinos to North Jersey, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) pumped the brakes on the idea.
“You know, it was a long shot to get the casinos on the ballot this time – we need the support, and we did have support – in Bergen, Hudson and Essex [Counties],” Sacco told Hudson County View at his office at the North Bergen Board of Education (he is also the director of elementary and secondary education).
Sacco explained that although North Jersey Dems fully supported the effort, which would initially allow residents to vote if they want the casinos or not, pols from the rest of the state weren’t open to the idea – at least not for this year.
“You know, it might have been enough to be successful, [but] there was pushback from other areas in the state. And since it had to be on the ballot, it seemed to be the Assembly, Vincent Prieto, seemed to be willing to put it on the ballot in the Assembly.”
“But, Steve Sweeney wasn’t willing to put it on the ballot in the Senate, so at that point it died: there was nowhere to go.”
Sacco also questioned if 2016 was the right time for such an initiative to be on the ballot, given that 2016 has a presidential election on the calendar.
Last month, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) said opening casinos in Bergen, Hudson and/or Essex Counties would bring tons of jobs to North Jersey, with Prieto telling Hudson County View days later that new casinos would help New Jersey generate valuable revenue.