The way to build New Jersey’s future is through competition and investment from the private sector. As an engineer and business owner with more than two decades of experience managing the planning, development, design, and construction of complex institutional facilities for education and healthcare, I understand first-hand how private sector investment creates jobs.
When companies are allowed to compete in a free an open marketplace, everyone wins. Companies bring resources to bear in a competitive market that might otherwise be used elsewhere. To compete for consumers, businesses must build facilities, expand services and offer competitive pricing. The net result is lower prices and better service for consumers and job creation for New Jersey.
Government also has a role to play. When over-regulation prevents fair competition, investment from the private sector is slowed. This in turn slows the roll-out of new services and cripples job growth. When regulations become obsolete or outdated, it is the job of government to modernize these rules.
Sadly, New Jersey’s existing rules pertaining to cable and telecommunications providers are grossly out of date. These rules, created decades ago before the iPhone, laptop computer or the Internet were even dreamed of, hamstring the communications marketplace and prevent competitors from operating on a level playing field. As it stands, government red tape is slowing innovation and preventing communications providers from creating jobs in New Jersey.
That is why Senator Raymond Lesniak introduced legislation earlier this year to reform New Jersey’s outdated laws. S. 2664, the Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act, removes bureaucratic red tape and decades-old rules in the communications and video industry, but maintains important protections such as LifeLine service for seniors and other vulnerable populations. This important legislation will open New Jersey to new investment.
Cable and telecommunications providers operate at a national level. Like any business, their resources are not limitless. If outdated rules and regulations prevent open competition in New Jersey, cable and telecom companies will chose to invest their resources elsewhere. This makes New Jersey less competitive in the region, stunts job growth and hurts the vendors and suppliers working in the communications sector. That is why I support this important legislation.
The State Senate has the opportunity to pass S. 2664 before the end of the year. I hope they do. We need this legislation so that New Jersey can break loose from the past and begin building its future.
Anthony Bastardi is the Chairman of the Board of New Jersey Foundation for Public Broadcasting