Buono releases urban revitalization plan

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono today released her plan to revitalize the state’s cities, which incorporates elements of her education and jobs plans as well as policies targeting gun violence and reforming drug laws.

“Our urban communities are essential drivers of economic development and the epicenter of our diverse culture that bonds us all as New Jerseyans,” Buono said in a prepared statement. “This plan affirms my commitment to urban areas by taking advantage of their strengths and addressing difficult problems head on to strengthen the workers and families who live there. At this critical time, urban communities need education, jobs and opportunity. With a Buono administration in Trenton, that’s what they can expect.”

The plan includes elements already released as part of her education plan – full funding of the school funding formula and full day kindergarten – and jobs plan – increase the minimum wage and target aid to small-, minority- and woman-owned businesses.

But her revitalization plan also includes crime measures such as universal background checks for gun purchases and the mandating of face-to-face ammunition sales.  Both measures have been pushed by Democrats as part of their post-Newtown gun control package.

Buono also says her administration would reform drug laws to target law enforcement resources at serious crimes rather than minor drug possession offenses, but does not give specifics about which laws she would change.

Her plan also calls for expansion of rehabilitation, job training, mental health and drug treatment programs for non-violent offenders and the curtailing of private, for profit prisons.

The plan gives no details about how she would fund her initiatives, which was a critique of her education plan released early last week.

Buono has said she would institute a tax on millionaires.  Estimates say the tax would raise about $600 million annually, but fully funding the education funding formula would cost $1 billion on its own.

Buono is scheduled to appear this afternoon in Irvington alongside several urban leaders to formally release her plan.

Buono releases urban revitalization plan