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NJBIA’s call to stop the diversion of licensing fee revenue into the General Fund is gaining some voices.

In a story by reporter Karin Mueller in NJ.com last week, Senator Mike Testa (R-1) joined NJBIA in its call of urging the state to utilize these fees for their intended use – especially in a cash-rich year for the state.

“It makes absolutely no sense for Governor Murphy to raid these funds when the state already has nearly $9 billion in unexpected tax collections from other sources and the licensing boards still have work to do to improve their operations,” Testa said.

Testa added that if there are funds beyond what is needed by the boards, then the licensing boards “should cut the fees they charge to professionals if there truly is extra left over year after year that they don’t need to operate effectively.”

The state DCA oversees 51 professional and occupational boards. It receives millions of dollars in licensing fees every year from a multitude of professionals, from nurses and home healthcare aides to accountants and social workers to dentists and salon workers.

In Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed budget for FY23, $38.5 million of the $103.3 million in revenue from DCA’s professional boards is being transferred to the General Fund – a diversion rate of more than 37%

That’s also $30 million more being diverted in FY23 than in the current fiscal year.

Mueller noted in the report that critics have said the boards are often too slow in granting licenses, which feeds into the workforce challenges employers often face.

NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas said licensing fee revenue should be reinvested into licensing boards to “to address the workforce crisis existing in many of the occupations they license, and the time is right to end diversions when there is a historically massive surplus.”

“We are concerned with the diversion of funds, licensure delays, board vacancies, lack of adequate support staff and antiquated IT systems at all of the professional boards, especially those regulating healthcare professionals,” added NJBIA Director of Government Affairs Alexis Bailey.