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Regulatory reform was one of the topics for legislative leaders at NJBIA’s Public Policy Forum on Tuesday. 

And the conversation seemed to re-ignite the need to create a commission to review government inefficiencies and overregulation. 

When told that only 3% of respondents to NJBIA’s 2024 Business Outlook Survey said New Jersey is better than other states when it comes to the cost of regulatory compliance, and just 4% said the state is better than others in the timely issuance of permits, Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo was not surprised. 

“I’m in a business as a CEO of a large company,” Sarlo said. “At the end of the day, we need to do a better job (on regulatory reform). 

“I have railed against bureaucracy. I think sometimes at DEP and DCA, I’d love to go down there some time and walk floor to floor to say we could get those permits out the door just a little bit faster. You’re strangling our businesses.” 

In 2021, Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed an NJBIA-supported bill that would have created the Government Efficiency and Regulatory Review (GEARR) Commission, despite having near unanimous support from the Legislature.  

The GEARR Commission would have reviewed New Jersey’s regulatory structure to identify and address government inefficiencies and red tape. It also would have been chaired by the Chief Information Officer of the governor’s office. 

“I’m not really sure why the governor absolutely vetoed it,” said Sen. Steve Oroho, one of the sponsors of the bill. “I think there’s a misconception out there that this commission could actually change something. No, it could recommend something.  

“So, I hope the Legislature will take that up again. Quite frankly when all of us vote in favor, we should talk to the governor and say we’re veto-proof here. Help us out here. It’s not that we’re coming after the administration or anything like that, we just want to give the ability to come and take a look at some of the regulations.” 

Assembly Budget Committee Chair Eliana Pintor Marin agreed that the GEARR Commission “makes complete sense.” 

“I’m not sure why we wouldn’t be able to take it up in the next session,” she said. 

Following NJBIA’s Public Policy Forum, Senator Holly Schepisi put out a statement to bring the GEARR legislation back – based on Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont withdrawing his state from the Advanced Clean Car Act II rules because its Regulation Review Committee was poised to vote against the adoption of the controversial rules. 

“Instead of mandating policies that will inevitably hurt working and middle-class New Jerseyans, we need to make their lives easier,” Schepisi said. “These policies are being implemented without regard for the capacity of our electric grid, the cost of improvements that will be required, or how the average family will afford the significant costs associated.  

“That’s why I’m joining the call to establish the Government Efficiency and Regulatory Commission to reign in the Governor’s ever-increasing regulations being implemented through unelected boards and commissions.”