Lawmaker: Tax breaks for A-list performers would give Atlantic City a strong economic boost

Large crowds at a weekend beach concern have a state lawmaker more convinced than ever that his bill to give tax breaks to A-list performers that commit to multi-night stands in Atlantic City would give the struggling city a financial boost.

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said Monday that his bill would make large crowds like those at Sunday's Maroon 5 show the norm rather than the exception.

The Atlantic City Alliance, a casino-funded group that promotes the resort to other parts of the country, says more than 50,000 people attended Sunday's show. The group estimates that the concert generated $24 million for the city's economy, with more than 3,000 hotel rooms sold as a direct result of the concerts.

The alliance has similar expectations for another beach concert Thursday, featuring country act Rascal Flatts.

"The extraordinary attendance and revenue figures from Sunday's Maroon 5 concert proves that we should immediately pass" the bill, Kean said. The measure "would repeatedly and consistently draw A-kist performers to New Jersey."

Under his bill, qualifying entertainers who perform at least four dates in Atlantic City's tourism district would get a state tax credit on all income they earn performing in New Jersey, including in Atlantic City, Camden, Trenton, Newark and Holmdel.

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The secretary of state would decide which acts qualify for the tax break, using a still-to-be-decided formula including record sales, ticket sales and awards. The state taxation division would oversee an application process.

The bill is awaiting a vote in a State senate committee.

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian supports the bill.

"If it brings in more entertainers to our already fabulous list of acts, I think it's a win-win," he said Monday. "As everyone has seen from our last three beach concerts, Atlantic City can certainly host top-tier events for multiple days at a time."

Last year, Atlantic City hosted free beach concerts by country music stars Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum. Fans have to pay for this year's beach shows.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC