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Dear Chairwoman & Members of the Senate Commerce Committee:
On behalf of Americans for Prosperity and more than 137,000 activists across the state, I urge you to please vote “Yes” on Senate Bill 1599, which will come before your committee this Thursday.
AFP enthusiastically supports S-1599 as a way of bringing sunlight to the exclusionary nature of certain licensing boards, whether that’s special interest influence or the case of blocking New Jerseyans with past criminal records who have been rehabilitated and are looking to re-enter the workforce and provide for their families.
According to the Institute of Justice in their recently released report, License to Work, New Jersey is the 28th most broadly and onerously licensed state with the 16th most burdensome licensing laws.
Americans for Prosperity has long been opposed to unnecessary occupational licensing without a public need. These onerous and expensive requirements for occupations place unnecessary burden on workers who are looking to climb the economic ladder and provide for themselves and their families. Lawmakers often hear from trade associations, but rarely hear from the unemployed jobseekers who are held back because of costly licensing, which often gives advantages to one group over another.
According to a 2015 White House Report prepared by the Department of the Treasury Office of Economic Policy, the Council of Economic Advisors, and the Department of Labor:
“…the current licensing regime in the United States also creates substantial costs, and often the requirements for obtaining a license are not in sync with the skills needed for the job. There is evidence that licensing requirements raise the price of goods and services, restrict employment opportunities, and make it more difficult for workers to take their skills across State lines.”
Across the nation, and right here in New Jersey, residents are unable to see the damage caused by occupational licensing boards because of a lack of transparency around exam passage rates and other data points.
Senate Bill 1599 would require any professional or occupational board, agency, or committee in the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety or in the Department of Environmental Protection that administers licensing exams to report passage and failure rates in these exams to the Legislature.
In addition to passage and failure rates, we recommend adding language that would require boards to report 1) the average scores of New Jersey test takers; 2) the scores used to determine passage; 3) the percentage of New Jersey test takers who passed compared to test takers in neighboring states; and 4) require licensing boards to indicate whether they are using a national test, or one specific to our state, and to provide an explanation for their choice. With these critical pieces of data in mind, legislators will be able to make more informed judgments as to the ineffectiveness, harm, and protectionism inherent in the New Jersey occupational licensing regime.
Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to working with your offices. I am copying Tony Howley, AFP-NJ’s Grassroots Director, who will be available Thursday to discuss any questions or concerns.
Erica L. Jedynak
Americans for Prosperity – New Jersey
Americans for Prosperity has a vision for an America where truly free markets allow for free and prosperous people. We use cutting-edge tools and technology to support a network of more than 3.2 million engaged citizens who are working to bring that vision to life. Together, we’re persuading public officials to embrace an agenda of economic freedom, educating our friends and neighbors on the issues shaping our economy, and getting everyone involved in building a culture of freedom at the local, state and federal levels. Whether it’s on the telephone, at a neighbor’s front door, or on the steps of the state capitol, Americans for Prosperity staff and activists are spreading the word about economic freedom every single day. Our mission is to mobilize citizens to advocate for policies that cut red tape and increase opportunity, put the brakes on government overspending, and get the economy working for hard workers– not special interests.
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