Income-tax cuts across the board. Mandatory substance abuse treatment for nonviolent drug offenders. A constitutional amendment to deny bail to suspects arrested in violent crimes.
And a continued push for education proposals debated but not approved last year.
Republican Gov. Christie presented that game plan for the 2012 political season in his annual State of the State address Tuesday in Trenton.
Expecting Democrats to send him yet another measure raising taxes on high-income earners, Christie threw them a curveball. Instead of arguing again that taxes shouldn't go up on the rich, the governor proposed a tax cut on everyone - including millionaires. The 10 percent cut would be phased in over three years.
At the same time, he vowed to restore reductions to the state's earned income tax credit, which goes to the working poor.
"Every New Jerseyan will get a cut in taxes," Christie said. "The working poor, the struggling middle class, the new college graduates getting their first job, the senior citizens who have already retired, the single mom, the job creators, the parents trying to afford to send their son or daughter to college."
At a news conference immediately after the speech, Democratic leaders roundly rejected the tax cut plan, saying it would benefit millionaires and provide a pittance to everyone else.
"$275 for a family making $100,000 a year is not a grocery bill for a family of five," said Louis Greenwald (D., Camden), the Assembly's new majority leader, citing estimates of proposed tax rates.
Democrats calculated that a millionaire would save $7,265.75. Christie did not estimate taxpayer savings or say how he would pay for the cuts. Democrats contended the plan would end up costing public schools $1 billion.
On Wednesday, Christie will hit the road to sell his ideas - with stops on NBC's Today show, MSNBC's Morning Joe and a 3 p.m. town hall meeting at the Voorhees Town Center.
The governor spent much of the speech detailing accomplishments of his two years in office, saying that the unemployment rate had stopped rising and that private sector jobs had increased by 60,000.
Using the phrase "the New Jersey comeback," Christie repeatedly returned to a bipartisan theme.
"The New Jersey comeback is taking place in large part because of what we have done in this chamber," he said. "Together, we have done something that Trenton hasn't seen in a very long time. We worked together. We achieved compromises. And we put New Jersey and its people first."
Specifically, he referenced legislation passed by lawmakers of both parties that increased the amount of money public workers pay to their health benefits and pensions.
With Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D., Essex) and Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) sitting behind him, Christie referenced the spats he had with each over the summer. (Oliver called Christie "mentally deranged"; Sweeney cursed him out in a newspaper interview.)
Joking away the disputes, Christie said of his relationship with Democrats: "Now it doesn't mean we didn't shout at each other. It doesn't mean we didn't get angry. You may even recall that even some of my friends had some very colorful nicknames for me."
Christie turned around to look at Sweeney, who smiled and shrugged as the audience of lawmakers, lobbyists and political family members applauded.
"Today we heard actually a very good speech from the governor," Sweeney said afterward. "That's all it was - a speech."
Democrats have another set of priorities for the coming year, including an increase in the minimum wage and the legalization of gay marriage. Christie didn't touch these topics.
But there could be some room for agreement in regard to Christie's plan to keep those arrested on violent crimes in jail until their trial. Changing these bail rules to model the federal system might require a constitutional amendment, he said.
Christie had promised this change during his 2009 gubernatorial campaign as a way to address crime in cities.
"We need to reclaim our inner cities," Christie said, as Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd looked on from the front row of the balcony.
Christie also wants "mandatory" housing of nonviolent drug offenders in in-house treatment facilities instead of prison.
The call for a "second-chance" for nonviolent drug offenders received a standing ovation led by former Gov. James E. McGreevey, who works with female inmates. McGreevey was among several former governors attending the speech.
Christie offered nothing new in the way of education proposals, instead rehashing plans from 2011, which he had dubbed the "year of education reform." Only one measure was signed into law.
Christie again proposed changing the system of teacher tenure so teachers get job protections based on merit, not seniority. And he again pushed the Opportunity Scholarship Act, which would provide tax credits to companies that provide scholarships for students in certain schools to attend alternatives.
"I have a message that is not from me, but from the single mom in Newark, the struggling parent in Camden, as well as the employers all over our state: education reform - real education reform - has waited long enough," he said.
The state's largest teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association, said it wanted Christie to sit down with its members so it could share research that casts doubt on the efficacy of his proposals.
"It's time to abandon bumper-sticker and sound-bite solutions to the complex issues facing public education and to bring everyone together to support proven reforms," NJEA President Barbara Keshishian said in a statement.
Democrats mentioned several programs that they want funded, from family planning to prekindergarten, when the governor delivers his budget proposal next month.
But they will be hard-pressed to match Christie's ability to command attention. He previewed his State of the State speech by releasing a YouTube video shot like a movie trailer, complete with dramatic music.
State of the State Highlights
Tax cuts: Proposed a 10 percent reduction in income tax rates and restoration of an earned-income tax credit cut two years ago. After years of sacrifice, Gov. Christie said the cuts would let everyone in the state share in a benefit. Democrats said they would disproportionately favor high-income families and could hurt schools. Christie did not say how he would pay for the cuts.
School reform: Made the case again for major changes in public education, resolving to get legislative action in an area where Christie has had many proposals but little legislative success. He called for teacher tenure overhaul, merit pay, and publicly funded scholarships that could send some students to private schools.
Urban crime: Proposed changing the system so that offenders with a history of violence could not be freed on bail while awaiting trial on new charges. And repeating another position he's pushed recently, Christie called for mandatory treatment of nonviolent drug offenders rather than sending them to prison. - APEndText