This past week, the New Jersey state Senate and Assembly both passed the “Opportunity to Compete Act,” which prohibits businesses with more than 14 employees from asking applicants to check a box to indicate whether they have been convicted of a crime. Additionally, businesses would be prohibited from asking first-time interviewees if they’ve been convicted of a crime.
It has been reported that NJ Governor Chris Christie’s office worked with the legislators on the language of the bill; thus, Christie is expected to sign the bill into law.
New Jersey is already one of the least business-friendly states in the United States. According to the Tax Foundation’s 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index, NJ was the 2nd least business-friendly state – based on over 100 criteria – and ranked at the bottom in income taxes, corporate taxes, sales tax and property tax. And this ranking does not account for the Democrat-controlled legislature’s zeal to increase the “millionaire’s tax” that affects far more people making less than a million dollars a year than people making more than that.
With all this in mind, why on earth would our legislature – Democrats AND many Republicans – agree to make it difficult for potential employers to weed-out the criminal element?
Sure, there are people who deserve a second chance, but shouldn’t any business that deals with children (schools, day care centers, ice cream shops, batting cages, fast food restaurants, etc.) have a right to keep child molesters from working for them? Shouldn’t store owners have the right to know that an applicant has 77 prior arrests for thievery?
With thousands of Atlantic City Casino employees on the verge of being added to the state’s unemployment roll, why is the state’s legislature hellbent on giving potential businesses yet another reason to leave New Jersey? It’s long past time for this state to cut taxes and ease-up on the regulations. Even New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, is offering businesses up to 10 years tax-free to start a business in their state. If a liberal Democratic governor get is, why can’t Chris Christie?
The “Opportunity to Compete Act” must be vetoed!