TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie has shown little to no signs of curbing his plans to privatize parts of the New Jersey State Lottery, but that has not stopped his presumptive gubernatorial challenger from calling on residents to voice opposition to the proposal.
State Sen. Barbara Buono again ripped the governor’s plan Thursday, saying Christie is using a “one-shot revenue gimmick” to help “prop up” his budget. The Democratic lawmaker is opposing the Republican governor’s plan to privatize the lottery’s marketing and management.
“This was done under the dark of night,” said Buono outside of a Trenton convenience store that sells New Jersey Lottery tickets.
“Any kind of privatization obviously has to be evaluated very closely,” she said.
Buono was joined by a spokesman from the Communications Workers of America’s New Jersey chapter, which represents some state lottery workers.
Both Buono and CWA’s Seth Hahn said the fact that only one bid was submitted should be cause for suspicion.
“I wouldn’t sell a rusty-old minivan without taking a few bids on it,” said Hahn, referring to Christie’s plan as being part of a “radical new policy initiative.”
Buono’s campaign hosted the news conference within weeks after a handful of New Jersey’s federal lawmakers asked that the U.S. Attorney General conduct a formal review of Christie’s plans.
The governor brushed off the letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder as “naked partisanship.”
“They might as well just put a ‘Buono for Governor’ letterhead [on it] rather than a congressional letter piece,” Christie said during an April 18 Long Branch news conference, adding, “It’s a political hit piece” by Democrats in Congress.
The governor’s re-election campaign was also quick to denounce Buono’s attack on the proposal.
“Buono and her special interest allies are running an increasingly desperate campaign based entirely on negative and misleading attacks,” said campaign spokesman Kevin Roberts.
“It’s not surprising that she doesn’t want to talk about her record or vision for the future, given her failed role as Jon Corzine’s budget architect and votes for 154 tax and fee increases that ruined New Jersey’s economy,” he said.