The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has received approval from Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Department of Budget and Finance in to initiate a much-needed fee increase in October 2014.
This is the first increase on licensing fees and Compliance Resolution Fund fees since 1982. The increase is needed to modernize the functions of the licensing and enforcement divisions of DCCA’s Professional and Vocational Licensing Division (PVL) and Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO).
The new licensing systems will allow PVL to process applications and renewals faster, more online functions that and will update licensees as the application process progresses. The new RICO system will allow consumers to file complaints online and to receive updates as the investigation process continues.
The computer systems that currently run at PVL and RICO were established in the early 80s. The systems are based on old technology, but DCCA employees have done a remarkable job of keeping the systems operating and keeping costs down.
The systems are at a point where they need replacement. The new systems will lead to better efficiency and more productivity for the divisions since the software fails to do a lot of what is taken for granted when it comes to systems created after 2000.
The department is aware that the cost of business rises each year. Please understand that DCCA has tried for decades to keep costs down and worked to keep licensee fees to a minimum. That is part of the reason why there has not been an increase to the license and enforcement fees since most of the licenses were established in the 80s. Despite the fact that licensee numbers have increased 60 percent the department has kept its staffing relatively low. In order to provide the proper levels of service DCCA must look to right-size the staffing levels and upgrade systems moving forward.