It’s another example of New Jersey government mismanagement and bureaucracy hard at work for the taxpayers of the Garden State.

Every year, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs collects more than $100 million in licensing fees from hundreds of thousands of professionals in different fields, including home health aides, social workers, nurses, funeral directors and dentists.

This year’s proposed New Jersey state budget, which must be finalized and approved by the end of June, calls for $38.5 million in licensing fees collected by the DCA to be transferred to the General Fund, where it can be used for anything.

It's a proposal the state's business community isn't happy about.

What are they doing?

Chrissy Buteas, chief government affairs officer for the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, said this doesn’t make sense.

“The licensing fees should remain where they’re paid to, which is in the Division of Consumer Affairs, to process the licenses of all of these professionals,” she said.

Buteas said the money should stay in DCA to ensure that there aren't delays in licensing processing, for needed technology upgrades and to pay any additional staff.

Some people are delayed for months

Buteas said right now some New Jersey professionals are waiting months to have their licenses processed, at a time when the labor shortage continues to get worse.

“What we want to do is be able to make sure that they get into the workforce as soon as possible, that their licenses are getting processed as soon as possible,” she said.

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Buteas said the problem impacts thousands of different types of professionals in different industries every year, adding that “if someone’s application is not getting processed in a timely manner it keeps them out of the workforce and really creates some economic hardships.”

It’s not a new problem

Buteas said the problem is not new and it’s unfortunately widespread.

“Whether it’s one licensing board or another, this is a constant theme that has come up. It has come up in the past and it continues to today.”

She said the NJBIA is leading a campaign with one simple objective – to get the fees to remain in the DCA.

“DCA and other agencies that license in New Jersey need to be fully supported. We look forward to working with Treasury, the Legislature and DCA to see that more licensing fees charged to our businesses and nonprofits go to their intended use,” Buteas said.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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