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