As the gubernatorial race wages on, there are multiple issues that have been debated and are on the minds of voters. Chief among them is likely the economy. With that in mind, Buono recently went about presenting her approach to improving New Jersey's economy and what she hopes to accomplish as governor. Altogether, her ideas represent her economic development plan.
As Buono would state,
My plan was developed with the understanding that a strong economy begins with a strong middle class. In order to have sustainable, long-term growth we must invest in our workforce, schools, small businesses and infrastructure. As governor, I will marshal New Jersey’s resources to create jobs and make our state competitive in the global economy.
As part of that plan, she calls for an urban investment bank that would be a self-sustaining public-private investment bank that would encourage companies and entrepreneurs to invest in inner city projects. Also, she wants to address the state's shortage of transportation funding by setting up another bank that would couple public and private investments to help fund infrastructure repairs.
Moreover, her plan aims to invest more in higher education as well increasing scholarships and funding for county colleges and vocational training. Similar to President Barack Obama, Buono is calling for a bigger push for recruiting more math and science teachers.
Continuing through her plan, there is also a desire for increasing tax relief for child care expenses and at least some paid sick days for all workers.
Her economic plan drew criticism from some like the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).
For the NFIB,
It’s hard to know how she can bundle up a higher minimum wage and mandatory paid sick leave and then call that an economic plan. Those two proposals are guaranteed to hurt small employers, destroy jobs, and make New Jersey less competitive.
As she lays out her own economic plan, Buono has not shied away from going after Christie's agenda and record.
This is a governor who's focused on giving tax cuts to millionaires and giving advantages to those already at the top while turning his back on the middle class and working poor. That's what my economic plan addresses.
Improving education and providing the necessary funding and resources have been part of her own plan and part of her criticism for Christie. That includes during a student's time getting their education and after they graduate.
She would bluntly state,
Right now, students are graduating with three D's — degrees, debt and disappointment.
Christie would respond to Buono's criticism by uttering,
As far as Senator Buono's economic plan, all I can tell you is that, in my quick glance over it, it's a return to the Corzine years ... higher taxes, higher spending, bigger government, and government intruding in every part of people's lives. I think we've been able to get rid of a good amount of that in the last four years, and as a result we have 150,000 or so new private sector jobs in the state, and people feeling much better about where the state was than it was four years ago.
Christie and those around him have aimed to paint Buono as another former Governor Jon Corzine, the man Christie defeated four years ago. Buono certainly played a role in Trenton during Corzine's time as governor and influenced many of his policies and economic plans. However, she has looked to paint herself as not the same person as Corzine to hopefully combat all the Republican ads.
As Buono would further exclaim,
So I know what these guys are doing, they are trying to dredge up the remains of a very unpopular governor because that's the only Democrat they are going to beat.
She would also poke at Christie's Jersey Comeback motto and belief by voicing,
It's not a comeback, it's a catastrophe. We just can't cut a ribbon on a boardwalk and say all's hunky dory.
As the race for governor wages on, whomever will best shape and guide the state's economy will likely weigh on voters' minds when they head to the polls. Buono continues to paint Christie's time as governor as a failure and his economic approach and his budgets being the forefront of that. While Christie will continue to work to portray Buono as Corzine 2.0.