If you give them tax breaks, entertainment will come
New Jersey casinos have long shared competition for not only gambling dollars, but also performance and entertainment revenue, with many nearby states. State Senator Tom Kean has unveiled legislation he believes will help the struggling Atlantic City entertainment scene as well as other venues statewide.
Kean's bill would waive the payment of state income taxes for any big-name headliners who appear four or more times in Atlantic City during the course of a year. The senator said New Jersey needs to focus on ideas that can help Atlantic City along with the entire state. This comes on the heels of news that the gambling resort has lost half of its revenues over the last eight years.
"You get those tourism dollars, you get that job creation, you get that worldwide 'pop' for Atlantic City, and you can make sure that this is part of the entertainment strategy for the future in New Jersey," Kean said. "The gist of the legislation is to make sure that we have more A-list performers in New Jersey."
He said waiving income taxes would also drum up more performances in venues such as as Newark's Prudential Center and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, as well as the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel and others.
Kean cited Britney Spears' Las Vegas concert run, which has gone on for months, as one example of the economic benefit of having repeated performances by a big name. He said Spears' performances have generated at least $20 million for a business in Las Vegas that had been struggling, while helping with jobs, overall tourism and state revenues.
"If you are looking at the future of the the Prudential Center or any of these other entertainment venues, you could link this into a statewide performance strategy," Kean said.
He plans to introduce the legislation at the next Senate quorum.