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50 Inactive Boards, Commissions on the Chopping Block [AUDIO]

One New Jersey lawmaker is actually doing something about some things that do nothing.

Flickr User J Heffner

State Senator Jim Whelan is sponsoring legislation to scrap about 50 boards, commissions, committees, authorities, councils and task forces.

He says some of them haven’t met in years and some of them have never even had a single meeting.

“It’s not something we can point to that we’re going to be able to balance the budget on,” Whelan admits. “I wish it were, but it’s not.”

Does New Jersey really need a Dairy Compact Commission or a Limousine Advisory Committee? Whelan doesn’t think so, and that’s why he asked his staff to ferret out panels that are obsolete, inactive, expired or abolished, but still on the books.

How many more of these panels are out there?

“Well, I really don’t know which is part of the problem with this,” Whelan explains. “Every four or five years let’s go through and comb through the ones that aren’t really functioning and get rid of them. It’s probably something that will need to be done, maybe not next year, but certainly down the road.”

Because it won’t save much money, if any at all, Whelan calls his bill a housekeeping and clerical measure.

Almost two years ago Assemblyman John Burzichelli sponsored a bill that eliminated 30 dormant boards and commissions. He said then that all future panels should have sunset dates, so they automatically expire.

“There could be as many as 200 more plus of these,” Burzichelli said. “They’ve sort of been forgotten, but occasionally someone has to go and look at them…It’s symbolic. It sends the right message and it’s part of an overall effort on regulatory reform.”

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