Buono Releases Landmark Plan to Revitalize Urban Communities
By Mel Fabrikant Wednesday, September 11, 2013, 10:27 AM EDT
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono today released her plan to revitalize urban communities across New Jersey. Senator Buono believes that vibrant, prosperous urban centers are essential to creating a New Jersey where every resident has the opportunity to succeed.
Senator Buono’s urban policy plan is a landmark step towards moving urban communities forward. The plan tackles the pressing issues facing urban communities, including high unemployment, failing schools, rising poverty and persistent gun violence, and offers reforms that will invigorate and bolster these areas.
“Our urban communities are essential drivers of economic development and the epicenter of our diverse culture that bonds us all as New Jerseyans,” Senator Buono said. 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.”
Revitalizing urban communities requires a staunch commitment to improving our public schools and closing the achievement gap. Senator Buono believes that every student in New Jersey must have access to a quality education in order to obtain the skills needed to compete in the 21st century workforce. Her plan calls for expanding early childhood education and full day kindergarten while ensuring that all public schools are fully funded in accordance with the School Funding Reform Act.
When New Jersey students graduate, it’s essential to have quality jobs available in urban areas. Instead of wasting billions on tax credits directed towards big corporations, Senator Buono will support local businesses by providing targeted tax assistance to small businesses, specifically those in areas of chronically high unemployment. Her plan calls for the restoration of set-aside programs for women and minority owned small businesses. These actions will create jobs and empower local communities.
Following a rash of gun violence facing urban communities, New Jersey needs a leader who is committed to taking the necessary steps to reduce gun violence. Senator Buono’s plan outlines several commonsense steps to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous people by instituting universal background checks and mandating face-to-face ammunition sales. While Governor Christie was unwilling to take decisive action on gun violence, Senator Buono will lead the charge.
Read the full Buono urban policy plan here.
Highlights of the plan include:
Senator Buono is committed to expanding economic opportunity and ensuring New Jersey families can make ends meet:
• Ensure hardworking New Jerseyans earn a decent living by increasing the minimum wage and tying it to cost of living increases.
• Lift up families living in poverty by restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit to 25 percent and marketing it to all eligible individuals.
• Enable young immigrants to attain the promise of a higher education and become part of New Jersey’s skilled workforce by enacting tuition equality.
Senator Buono will be a staunch advocate for local small businesses:
• Target assistance to small businesses, many of which are women and minority owned and restore set-aside programs for women and minority owned small businesses.
Expanding educational opportunities and strengthening New Jersey’s public education system will be a top priority to Senator Buono:
• Enforce established guidelines to return state-run public school districts to local control.
• Fund New Jersey schools according to the School Funding Reform Act, which recognizes the individual needs of every child in every community.
• Close the achievement gap by expanding high quality early childhood education and full-day kindergarten.
As Governor, Senator Buono will promote safe communities:
• Adopt commonsense measures to reduce gun violence, including universal background checks and mandating face-to-face ammunition sales.
Protecting community values will be an essential part of the Buono administration:
• Help reduce incarceration by expanding programs for rehabilitation, job training, mental health and drug treatment for non-violent offenders.
• Increase access to mental health treatment by expanding training and educational opportunity for mental health professionals.
• Reform drug laws to target law enforcement resources at serious crimes rather than minor drug possession offenses.
Senator Buono will take action to stem New Jersey’s foreclosure crisis and keep housing affordable:
• Enhance the economic stability of communities with high rates of foreclosures by converting foreclosed properties into affordable homes for New Jersey families.
• Prevent improper foreclosures by increasing oversight of federal foreclosure review settlement funds.