To: Members of the New Jersey State Senate Budget Appropriations Committee
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Dear Chairman Sarlo and Members of the Committee,
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), and our supporters across New Jersey, I urge you to reject Senate Bill 2625. This legislation would create new, overly broad licensing requirements for dietitian nutritionists that will do little to protect the public, while threatening New Jersey jobs and businesses.
SB 2625 creates a new State Board of Dietetics and Nutrition to oversee this new license, which will be incentivized to limit access to the profession – limiting jobs for New Jerseyans in the process. It will also bar all sorts of speech, putting folks like mom bloggers on the wrong side of the law.
New Jersey has too many licenses. The state’s licensing regimes cost the economy $474 million in deadweight loss, and prevented the creation of 80,890 jobs (Institute for Justice). The last thing the state needs is a new onerous license that will add to these already-high numbers.
Low-income workers are also negatively impacted by excessive occupational licensing. An Archbridge Institute study found more licensing is associated with greater income inequality, while another study from NBER shows state licensing is a barrier to interstate migration, both for workers with licenses that won’t be recognized in another state, and less-educated workers.
The barriers SB 2625 would place in front of workers would be higher for lower income folks. The fees hit these applicants hardest, and if they are not interested in pursuing a profession that makes use of all the academic and training requirements, clearing those hurdles is a waste of resources.
SB 2625 includes specific, overly broad and damaging provisions. For example: personal trainers could not offer basic nutrition advice to overweight people considered obese, because obesity is defined as a disease. Concern over protecting people with acute illnesses that require medical oversight is understandable, but this legislation goes far beyond protecting the safety of New Jerseyans.
Further, the inclusion a broad “good moral character” provision will unnecessarily discriminate against people leaving the criminal justice system and looking for work. Having a job reduces recidivism for former offenders (Indiana Department of Corrections). Placing arbitrary barriers between them and work is not just bad for them, but negatively impacts public safety.
Meanwhile, other states are moving in the right direction, Pennsylvania’s Senate recently passed a bill to require that licensing boards must consider someone’s past criminal record on an individual basis, rather than blindly banning a class of people from entire professions.
Licensing is far from the only way to address safety and oversight concerns, but it is the most burdensome method. Instead of adding to New Jersey’s job-killing occupational licensing burdens, and punishing workers who do not pose a risk to public safety, we urge you to reject SB 2625. If you have any questions, or ATR can be of further assistance, contact State Projects Director Doug Kellogg, [email protected], 202-785-0266.
Grover G. Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform