Assemblyman Vince Polistina today said that a proposal by the Pinelands Commission to increase fees for building approvals will continue to impede economic growth in South Jersey at a time when New Jersey already is perceived as overregulated and unfriendly toward businesses.

?New Jersey is already overregulated and overtaxed and these new fees will only add to this problem,? said Polistina, R-Atlantic. ?At a time when our state desperately needs to create new jobs and promote economic development these fee hikes are yet another counterproductive step.?

The New Jersey Pinelands Commission is slated to have its budget cut by $780,000 in Governor Corzine?s Fiscal Year 2009 budget proposal. In response to that cut in funding, the commission has voted to impose higher fees for Pinelands permits including a first-time $200 charge for reviewing single-family home plan and charges ranging from $4,375 to $25,000 for public development projects.

A major complaint with the Pinelands Commission and Department of Environmental Protection has been that in many cases they take longer to review permit applications than are permitted by their own regulations. Polistina said the agency should look at streamlining that process and eliminating the current backlog before it even considers imposing new fees.

?If we would stop the over-regulation and duplicitous reviews by state agencies, we would not need any additional personnel at the Pinelands Commission or DEP and we could actually cut the size of government and save money,? Polistina said. ?Streamlining the review process will save time, save money, and the projects will not be any different because they will still be going through the required county and local approvals.?

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