Gov. Phil Murphy has no plan to add casino or South Jersey shore representatives to his economic reopening commission but may create a second advisory panel that would include people from throughout the state, a spokesperson said Wednesday.
Additions to the commission were suggested Wednesday by four state senators, including state Sens. Michael Testa Jr., R-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic; and Chris Brown, R-Atlantic.
“The commission named yesterday was very broadly focused and will work on a macroeconomic level to advise the governor on the restarting and recovery,” the spokesman wrote in an email response to questions. “There are discussions happening about the formation of a second, statewide advisory panel that would include people from throughout New Jersey.”
When explaining their reasons for proposing a 37% toll increase on the Atlantic City Express…
Brown said the state’s $45 billion tourism industry is based on South Jersey’s beaches, boardwalks and casinos.
“Governor Murphy’s proposed road to recovery commission will be a dead end if he doesn’t realize South Jersey will meet the medical criteria to reopen before North Jersey and the importance of our casino and tourism industry,” Brown said.
It supports 10% of the jobs in the state, contributes $5 billion in tax revenue and provides $260 million to programs for senior citizens.
A group of Republican state senators sent Murphy a letter Wednesday saying the Jersey Shore needs a detailed plan for reopening to preserve the economic well-being of “hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans who earn the bulk of their annual income from Memorial Day to Labor Day.”
Without such a plan, the senators said the state’s $45 billion tourism economy will be decimated.
“Such a plan may be developed through the newly formed Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission ... (and) to ensure that the interests of our tourism industry are considered, we recommend that a small business owner from the Jersey Shore and a representative of the Atlantic City casinos be included as members of the commission.”
The governor’s spokesman said the second panel is still in the discussion phase and more information will be released when the plan is solidified.