Atlantic City makes $1.8M bond payment, Christie still piles on
Atlantic City officials announced on Monday they have been able to come up with $1.8 million for a bond payment, which means they did not become the first municipality in the state to go into default on debt in almost 80 years.
Gov. Chris Christie is hardly impressed.
“I’ll tell you how bad off Atlantic City is," Christie said Monday during a Statehouse news conference. "Something that 565 municipalities do on a regular basis, which is make their debt payments, is worthy of a press release and a press conference by officials of Atlantic City. What’s next? Does he want, you know, does he want a gold medal for that?”
Christie was referring to a news conference called by Mayor Don Guardian, a Republican like Christie, who has sparred with Christie over proposed legislation to grant the Christie administration control over municipal finances.
“Nobody should be taking any bows for making a $1.8 million debt payment which you were supposed to make," Christie said.
Christie continues to push for a state takeover plan for the troubled resort town, a proposal that’s been approved by the state Senate. Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, however, won’t allow a vote on that measure. Prieto is pushing his own plan, one that would give Atlantic City officials two years to get their fiscal house in order before a takeover would occur.
“We know why he wants to let it go for another two years, cause I won’t be here for another two years and he thinks he’ll have a better audience to play to for his public-sector union pals,” said Christie.
If there is no agreement on a takeover-bailout package, Christie said Atlantic City will go into default, probably by the middle of this month, which he contends would be worse than declaring bankruptcy or having a takeover.
“Significantly worse, and significantly worse for the people of New Jersey as well, because it will affect the credit ratings of other major New Jersey cities,” said Christie. “That’s why this game of chicken being played by the speaker is so very dangerous. We have a bipartisan agreement with the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to move forward with a plan that makes sense. I want to save the Atlantic City government, but I will not take responsibility for saving the Atlantic City government without the tools to do so.”
Christie added Atlantic City is days away from going completely broke and “the mayor has all these press conferences and gives all these speeches. How about answering the question: How are you going to pay? I haven’t heard an answer from him on that, except I’m going to pay for him, and I’m not going to pay for him."