In response to reported problems with the online buying and selling of concert and sporting event tickets, lawmakers are considering a bill that would grant more protection to consumers and eliminate e-tickets. Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37), who co-sponsored the bill, told NJ Today Senior Correspondent Desiree Taylor that he felt the need to address the issue to protect consumers, some of whom have had heartbreaking experiences with the system. He also provided a budget update, saying residents should expect a blend of the tax cut plans from the Assembly and Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Johnson said e-ticketing has been reported to be “extremely burdensome” for some who buy tickets to attend concerts and sporting events. “We felt that we had to address this issue to protect our consumers because there were some stories out there that were really kind of heartbreaking so we really had to get involved in this,” he said.
In 2009, Bruce Springstein fans who wanted to attend a concert and thought they were purchasing tickets from Ticketmaster were referred to another website that was charging more. “These ticket brokers, they somehow have this software that just purchases these blocks of tickets and they resell them at a higher price,” Johnson said. “We need to prevent that from happening of course.”
He explained another problem with e-ticketing occurs when individuals buy tickets and can’t go to the venue. “They want you to be at the box office with your credit card that you used to buy the ticket and you cannot send another person in your place,” Johnson said. “I feel if I buy a ticket either way, it’s my property. I can give it to my mother, I can give it to my sister, I can give it to my son if I want and they can then occupy that seat for the event.”
The Assembly heard testimony Monday about the legislation and Johnson said he believes the industry and legislators need to “sit down at a table and work out these issues that we have and come up with a little modified legislation that’ll be satisfactory to all or to most in the industry.”
The state budget is on the minds of many with the June 30 deadline looming. Johnson said there will be a budget committee hearing Thursday and that he believes a compromise is close between the Assembly, the Senate and the administration. “I think a blending of Steve Sweeney’s plan and a blending of the Assembly budget committee’s plan is what you’re going to see,” Johnson said.
Democrats are still willing to include a tax cut in the state budget, according to Johnson. “We feel that our tax cut plan is more beneficial to middle class and lower income people than the governor’s,” he said.
Johnson said he believes a millionaires tax and a measure setting aside money for women’s healthcare will be brought forward as separate bills and not included in the state budget. Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed a millionaires tax in the past and has said he will do so again.