In a day an age when the Obama Administration is causing many Americans to understand that more government and more government regulation is not necessarily a good thing, New Jersey is slowly waking up to the same reality. People like former Governor Jon Corzine helped show us that big government comes with a big price tag, a price tag that costs way more than its worth. More government and more government regulation is a rising tide that lifts all costs. From the cost of utilities and the price of merchandise and services to taxes, over-regulation delivers higher costs and less competition. And with decades and decades of intrusive federal, state, and local regulations, New Jerseyans live within a tangled web of government weaved red tape. That’s why the Consumer Choice Act is so important to New Jersey.
Newly evolved technological advances in the telecommunications industry have transformed the industry, but New Jersey’s outdated laws, create an obstacle that makes it hard for the benefits of these new technological advances to fully thrive in New Jersey. Yet special interests which profit from the enforcement of oppressive regulatory policies, want to prevent the New Jersey State Senate from passing the Consumer Choice Act. Blocking it in the state senate is their last hope because the bill has already passed the State Assembly. In fact, in the Assembly it passed with enthusiastic bi-partisan support. Even among the leadership of both Parties, in both legislative chambers.
These special interests are literally trying to scare voters into demanding that their State Senators vote against the Consumer Choice Act. They are threatening legislators with the promise of pumping tens of thousands of dollars into campaigns to defeat them during next years state legislative elections. And to motivate voters to their side, these special interests are stooping to scare tactics and lies. They are trying to convince vulnerable, fixed income senior citizens into believing that their phone service will be taken away. They are trying to make sports enthusiasts believe that their favorite cable sports channels will evaporate right before their very eyes.
The problem is, the Consumer Choice Act is anything but a danger to existing services. It promises to increase choices, enhance service quality and hold down or even reduce costs through competition.
Current regulatory policies do not properly deal with the realities of the competition that exists in today’s telecommunication market. The way regulations are now, companies like Verizon are able to dominate the market and inhibit consumer choice among alternate technologies such as cable companies, and wireless and competitive local exchange companies. This in turn stymies investment, innovation and growth of the telecommunication industry and among cable service providers. That lack of growth is costing New Jersey desperately needed tax revenue ….. increased tax revenue that could come without raising taxes.
This has been proven in other states which have adopted legislation similar to the Consumer Choice Act. When Indiana adopted such reform legislation, they saw an influx of investment from telecommunication companies that approached half a billion dollars and created thousands of new jobs. But here in New Jersey, we are left to contend with outdated legislation that stifles competition, kills growth, inhibits innovation and discourages employment opportunities.
Well it is a new day in New Jersey. With Governor Christie at the helm, you might say that it’s finally morning in New Jersey. As such, we now have an environment conducive to getting government out of the business of bureaucracy, untangling the red tape that creates a hostile environment for business and industry, and can reform government in a way that will allow it to enter the new decade that has already begun. The Consumer Choice Act does that. It is a reform that allows government to catch up to the times. And at the same time, people need not fear the cries of wolf coming from the special interests opposing this bill. Existing legislation such as the Consumer Protection Act , helps insure consumers against all the evils they try to scare us with.
We live in a state that has an innumerable amount of antiquated and truly stupid laws on the books. Take the Married Women’s Property Act from the 1800‘s. It allows only married women to own, control and dispose of property. Then there is another law still on the books from the 1800’s. It claims that if a woman is raped but then gets married within a certain timeframe, the man can’t be considered a criminal. State Senator Jennifer Beck is trying to get these laws repealed. But there are hundreds of senseless and outdated laws still on the books. One of my favorite state laws makes it illegal for men to knit during fishing season. On the local level, in Newark there is an existing law that makes it illegal to buy an ice cream cone after 6pm without a note from your doctor. How’s that for over-regulation?
Let’s face it folks, New Jersey does not have a problem with too little regulation. The problem is we have too much and much of it is too old to be effective in the 21st century. That is why it’s time to pass the Consumer Choice Act. It’s time for New Jersey to step out from the shadow of our past and into the brightness of the future. And it’s time for the naysayers to take a deep breath and get on the bandwagon before they get run over by it in the 2011 elections.
Call your State Senator and tell them you want market competition and consumer choice in New Jersey. Tell them you want S2664.
To find your state Senator and their contact information visit the legislative directory link provided here and click on your municipality.