New Jersey on the Mend with Trickle-Up Economics
By Elesha BarnetteThe super committee hasn’t reached a deal. Unemployment is still solidly 9%+ overall and muchhigher for minorities, 15.1% for African Americans and 11.4% for Hispanics.
Freddie andFannie tapped the treasury for an additional $7.8 billion in federal aid just last week, so if anyonethought the housing market was on an upswing, that notion was squashed. The tales of economicwoe go on and on.A few states are taking the local economy into their own hands and are developing legislationthat they believe will spark growth in their state.
Through these efforts, perhaps we will begin tosee some ‘trickle-up’ economics turn this country around.Enter: New Jersey State Senate Bill 2664Also known has the Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act, this legislation wouldeliminate what many believe are obsolete rules that are hampering economic growth, investmentand new job creation in the state.
Currently, the BPU (Board of Public Utilities) has authority over all “competitive” telecomservices. The existing telecom regulations were set up in an era before widespread competitionamong phone companies, cable TV operators, wireless phone services and internet telephony.Meant to ensure no one company was able to create a monopoly, the bill sponsors believe theserules have outlived their usefulness as well as their good intentions.In New Jersey’s highly competitive telecom market place, landline customers have a wide rangeof choices when selecting service providers.Over the past eight years, cable competitors like Cablevision and Comcast, or Internet phoneservices like Vonage and Skype have practically eaten Verizon’s lunch as the once monopolyplayer has gone from 6.7 million landlines (2001) to
2.8 million (2009).
“The competition isﬁerce and the consumer beneﬁts are real”, said Vera McIntyre, President of CommunicationsConsumers United.
“There are no monopolies. Job well done Board of Public Utilities; but in the interest of increased investment and jobs - it’s time to revisit the situation. The furtherance of BPUauthority over what should be a free market will only serve to cripple economic growth’’ saidCCU New Jersey member Lindsey Holmes.As the bill is currently written, if New Jersey State Senate Bill 2664 passes it won’t do awaywith the BPU. The BPU is needed to maintain consumer protection and public safety provisions,regulate important social services like Lifeline and 9-1-1 as well as ensure competition inemerging technology markets. It is simplest form the bill says it is time to let the competitive,open market in New Jersey thrive.