By Minhaj Hassan | December 5th, 2012 - 7:08pm
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TRENTON - Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Vincent  Prieto (D-32) of Secaucus, thanked several people from the Asian American Retailers Association for taking time out today to attend the hearing regarding the Lottery monetization plan.

He said they have a strong interest in making sure Lottery sales aren’t diverted away from them, adding that they helped put a face on a controversial plan that, until today, has flown “under the radar.”

“It affects the small businesses, those mom and pop shops throughout the state of New Jersey,” he said.

While he’s glad the hearing took place, he wished more administration officials would have attended as well.

“There’s a lot questions that need to be answered,” he said. He had particular concerns about the $120 million one-shot payment the successful bidder would have to give the state and its potential of not living up to expectations.

He mentioned that Illinois, which already made a similar move, has had a contractor that has met its revenue targets.

Prieto said the small business owners are rightly concerned about the big-box retailers siphoning away Lottery customers, and the associated sales.

Assemblyman Benji Wimberly said he supports the small business owners adding that they are the ones who have helped make the Lottery program successful.

“If it’s not broke, let’s not try to fix it,” he said.

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