NEW JERSEY REGISTER
VOLUME 33, NUMBER 24
MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2001
RULE PROPOSAL

LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
STATE BOARD OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPY EXAMINERS
ANNUAL LICENSE FEES AND CHARGES


Proposed Amendment: N.J.A.C. 13:34-1.1

Authorized By: State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, Dennis Gonzalez, Executive Director.

Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:8B-13.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.
Proposal Number: PRN 2001-467.

Submit comments by February 15, 2002 to:

Dennis Gonzalez, Executive Director
State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners
PO Box 45007
124 Halsey Street
Newark, New Jersey 07101

The agency proposal follows:

Summary

The State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners (the Board) proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:34-1.1, which establishes the fee schedule for the Board. Under the statutory authority set forth in N.J.S.A. 45:1-3.2, a professional board's fees must be established in an amount necessary to defray proper expenses incurred in performing its duties, but fees which raise revenues in excess of estimated expenses are prohibited. A fiscal officer of the Division of Consumer Affairs (the Division) recently completed a financial analysis which revealed that the proposed fee decreases are necessary and appropriate to satisfy the Committee's current and anticipated expense levels and to comport with the requirements of N.J.S.A. 45:1-3.2.

The Board is proposing that all initial license fees during the first year of a biennial license renewal period and that all biennial license renewal fees be decreased from $350.00 to $250.00 for marriage and family therapists. The Board is also proposing that all initial license fees for marriage and family therapists during the second year of a biennial license renewal period be decreased from $175.00 to $125.00, which is one-half of the initial license fee during the first year of a biennial license renewal period.

These fees provide the Board with its primary source of revenue and are all allocated to the Board's operational costs, which include the salaries of Board staff; costs incurred in reviewing applications submitted by applicants; responding to complaints and concerns of consumers and the public at large; adjudicating disciplinary matters; regulating compliance requirements of licensees; and the general regulation of marriage and family therapists.

The Board is proposing these decreases to avoid collecting more revenue than needed for future expenditures. Based on the revenue and expenditure trends, and the current number of licensees, it is anticipated that the collection of the full license fees during the next renewal cycles would result in the Board having a surplus. Therefore, the Board is proposing these fee decreases to ensure that the revenues raised in the future will not exceed program costs.

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:1-3.2, the Board must establish and/or increase fees to cover its proper expenses. The fees that are the subject of this proposal are necessary for the Board to perform its statutory obligations to the regulated community and to the public at large in maintaining professional and ethical business practices in the field. In order to meet its statutory obligations, the Board is proposing that all initial and renewal license fees for marriage and family therapists be decreased. Specifically, the Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:34-1.1(a)2i and (a)6 to provide that the initial license fee, during the first year of a biennial license renewal period, and the biennial license renewal fee be decreased from $350.00 to $250.00. In addition, the Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:34-1.1(a) 2ii to provide that the initial license fee, during the second year of a biennial license renewal period, be decreased from $175.00 to $125.00.

As the Board has provided a 60-day comment period on this notice of proposal, this notice is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5.

Social Impact

The proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:34-1.1 will impact licensed marriage and family therapists. There is a strong State interest in regulating the practice of counseling, predicated in large part on ensuring that those consumers who utilize the services of a marriage and family therapist are receiving a competent diagnosis, treatment, and related services. The Board believes that the proposed amendment will have a positive social impact upon the general public to the extent that the Board will have no more financial resources than needed to devote to regulating the practice of marriage and family therapy so as to safeguard the welfare of consumers who utilize the services of marriage and family therapists.

Economic Impact

The Board believes that the proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:34-1.1 will have a positive economic impact upon marriage and family therapists in that the initial licensure fee, during the first year of a biennial license renewal period, and the biennial renewal fee for such persons will decrease from $350.00 to $250.00. In addition, the proposed amendment will also have an economic impact upon marriage and family therapists to the extent that the initial licensure fee, during the second year of a biennial license renewal period, will decrease from $175.00 to $125.00.

The Board believes that the proposed amendment to the fee schedule will have a positive economic impact on the Board by ensuring that the Board will be adequately funded so as to defray the expenses it incurs in the performance of its statutory duties without incurring excess funds.

The Board does not anticipate that the proposed amendment will have an economic impact upon the general public.

Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is not required because the proposed amendment is governed by N.J.S.A. 45:14B-1 et seq., and, therefore, is not subject to any Federal standards or requirements.

Jobs Impact

The Board believes that the proposed amendment will not result in the generation or loss of jobs in the State, or leave any other impact in jobs.

Agriculture Industry Impact

The Board does not believe that the proposed amendment will have any impact on the agriculture industry in the State.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., requires the Board to give a description of the types and an estimate of the number of small businesses to which the proposed amendment will apply. Currently, the Board has approximately 1,000 licensees. If, for purposes of the Act, Board licensees are considered "small businesses" within the meaning of the statute, the following analysis applies.

The Act requires the Board to set forth the reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the proposed amendment, including the kinds of professional services likely to be needed to comply with the requirements. The Act further requires the Board to estimate the initial and annual compliance costs of the rule, to outline the manner in which it has designed the rule to minimize any adverse economic impact upon small businesses and to set forth whether the rule establishes differing compliance requirements for small businesses.

The proposed amendment does not impose reporting or recordkeeping requirements upon licensees. The proposed amendment, however, does impose compliance requirements upon marriage and family therapists. Persons who are granted initial licensure will be required to pay an initial licensure fee of $250.00, if during the first year of a biennial license renewal period and $125.00, if during the second year of a biennial license renewal period. The proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:34-1.1 also impose compliance requirements upon all marriage and family therapists applying for biennial licensure renewal. These licensees will be required to pay a biennial license renewal fee of $250.00.

No additional professional services will be needed to comply with the proposed amendment. Under the proposed amendment, the Board proposes only the level of fees necessary to fund operating expenses consistent with the requirements of N.J.S.A. 45:1-3.2. Because the proposed amendment must be uniformly applied in order to assess costs over all licensees, the Board has not imposed differing compliance requirements based on size.

Full text of the proposal follows :

<< NJ ADC 13:34-1.1 >>

13:34-1.1 Annual license fees and charges

(a) There shall be paid to the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners the following fees:

1. (No change.)

2. Initial license fee

i. If paid during the first year of a biennial renewal period .... $250.00
ii. If paid during the second year of a biennial renewal period .. $125.00

3.-5. (No change.)

6. License renewal fee, biennial .. $250.00

7.-11. (No change.)

33 N.J.R. 4199(a)


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Posted December 17, 2001