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  • Do You Need A Permission Slip to Work in Your State?

    For some professions, it makes a lot of sense to have some high standards before you’re allowed to work — doctors, pharmacists, pilots, you get the picture. But did you know that some states have some serious hurdles for jobs like makeup artists, tree trimmers, animal trainers and massage therapists? It’s true, and a series of new reports reveals how rules like these are making it harder for lower-income workers and entrepreneurs to earn a living.

    The Institute for Justice (IJ) finds that “occupational licenses” — essentially permission slips from the government to work in a particular field — have proliferated under modern state governments. In the 1950s, IJ writes, only 1 in 20 workers needed to be licensed, but today, almost 1 in 3 face some kind of licensing requirement. Further, they explain that these regulations have a detrimental impact on those seeking work or looking to open their own business:

    In documenting the license requirements for 102 occupations nationwide, this report finds that these laws can pose substantial barriers for those seeking work, particularly those most likely to aspire to these occupations—minorities, those of lesser means and those with less education.  Moreover, about half the occupations studied offer the possibility of entrepreneurship, suggesting that these laws hinder both job attainment and creation.

    Some key findings of IJ’s study reveal that workers in the occupations they examined on average must spend $209 in fees, take one exam, and take nine months of education and training. Interior designing is the most difficult occupation to enter (though it is only licensed in three states and the District of Columbia), while cosmetology trades, truck and bus drivers, and pest control workers face the most stringent licensing requirements. And strangely, the licensing requirements don’t necessarily correlate with the need to protect the public from harm — for example, the average cosmetologist spends 372 days in training while the average emergency medical technician only needs 33 days of training.

    That means that for people seeking work in “below average” income occupations, they have to spend months out of the workforce in order to be able to get back into the workforce. If they can’t afford to spend the time getting licensed, they don’t have the opportunity to get those jobs. In other words, the government is keeping them from climbing the economic ladder.

    Which states are some of the worst offenders? Louisiana licenses 71 out of the 102 occupations studied, followed by Arizona (64), California (62) and Oregon (59). As for which state imposes the highest burdens, Hawaii is the worst, requiring an average of $360 in fees, 724 days in education and experience and two exams, as well as grade and age requirements for the 43 occupations it licenses. Arkansas, Nevada, Florida and Arizona are also high on the list. IJ says that the discrepancy in licensing requirements across state lines suggests that some of the standards are disproportionate to the need and cause unnecessary hardship on workers.

    That’s particularly troublesome given the state of the U.S. economy. Heritage’s Rea Hederman, Jr. and James Sherk report that in April, 342,000 unemployed workers gave up looking for jobs and left the labor force, bringing the labor force participation rate to a 30-year low. Workers are discouraged, and Americans should be free to pursue employment without unnecessary licensing requirements from state governments. As Lisa Knepper of the Institute for Justice explains, “Unnecessary and needlessly high licensing hurdles don’t protect public health and safety—they protect those who already have licenses from competition, keeping newcomers out and prices high.”

    One of the more absurd examples of protectionist licensing requirements comes from Louisiana — the only state to license florists. In defense of the requirements, the head of the state horticulture commission argued: “If [aspiring florists] can’t take the instruction and pass the exam, how can they do an arrangement that you and I want to buy?” That’s government, for you — hard at work protecting you from poorly arranged bouquets.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Do You Need A Permission Slip to Work in Your State?

    1. mdog98 says:

      This sounds like the political party enacting all these regulations are PRO BIG BUSINESS.
      If it costs so much to start a business, then we get less small businesses!
      If we want a "FAIR" playing field (which I hear the WH SHOUT from the rooftops every day), then I think this should be 1 of the first steps to correct!

      • jimyardley says:

        Sorry, mdog, I have to disagree. Unless you know of a Fortune 500 company that wants to corner the market on cosmetology.

        It's much more likely that these barriers to entry were created by those already in the various fields being licensed as a way to keep competition to a minimum, if not eliminate it altogether.

    2. guest says:

      Here is a simple solution: If people in the private sector would quit taking advantage of people, robbing people, screwing people over, injuring people, spilling millions of gallons of oil into the ocean and creating general mayhem…

      Then there would be no need for regulations.

      Heck for that matter if people would just quit breaking laws, we wouldn't need police.

      And maybe if we quit starting wars in foreign countries, we wouldn't need to spend 200x what any other country spends on military.

      Yea, wishful thinking… an excercise in futility.

    3. Mike Dukes says:

      I am licensed in termite control Wood Destroying Organisms WDO in Georgia and Alabama. We are trying to open a local Pest Control company, but in order to do so we have to have a certified Pest Control License holder in addition to my license . In the pest control field being licensed is a good thing. Law suits abound and harm to individuals and property by untrained persons is a stark reality and leaves your company wide open for lawsuits. Back in the day, anyone could start a pest control company and sometimes took advantage of entire small towns selling services door to door with no intention of doing the work or doing it correctly. Rip off artists, we called them. So some certifications are good things. The State Agriculture Dept. acts as consumer protection insuring customers get what they pay for. I don't know about some of the other requirements you mention. All regulation isn't bad.

      • @Colony14 says:

        So, you are saying I cannot simply take your word for it that you know what you are doing? Why then would anyone want to hire you? I would trust references from previous customers more than a government license.

    4. There is a general societal utility in providing a scheme of regulation and licensure for skilled occupations and professions. Government involvement in vetting the qualifications and bona fides of practitioners typically flows from industry and public demand. However, for many if not most occupations, the private sector would step in and self-regulate were the government not to provide an adequate regulatory scheme. The example of interior designers is a case in point: most interior designers today work in commercial settings, and are called upon to specify designs and materials that comport with highly technical fire and other safety requirements for use in public facilities. Even in the absence of a government entrance test to the profession, there must be some logical system that allows those hiring and working with interior design professionals be be assured of their competency. Granted, membership in a (quasi) public, industry association could replace direct government licensure. But as licensure is typically conducted by states in association with either extant industry associations, or with state-sponsored professional panels serving a similar function, the end result is the same. Indeed, guild systems, given status in statutory and common law, served to regulate occupations and professions long, long before the drafting of the American Constitution, and one can hardly imagine the framers objecting to the guilds and professional associations that were brought to or recreated on these shores. I grant that licensing florists is excessive, but I suspect the practice arose not from the government's desire to protect flowers or their purchasers, but from demands by the existing profession to be protected from mere flower vendors. But government is the font of patronange and protectionism at which all industry feeds. Perhaps it is that against which we must be protected.

    5. Bob M says:

      “If [aspiring florists] can’t take the instruction and pass the exam, how can they do an arrangement that you and I want to buy?”

      Radical idea, just thought I would toss it out there

      DON'T BUY IT!

      • Bobbie says:

        I'd trust people in artistic areas that aren't influenced by or need licensing from an entity that has nothing to do with it and this entity being government control. Free people work through their own ambitions using their God given artistic abilities that show their talent. There's no reason for government intrusion to mandate licensing! Wherever government involves itself unconstitutionally enables corruption at will and within government control.

    6. Jeanne Stotler says:

      I have a license, I am a Nurse and I had to take a day long test, calledState boards, this is only after you have completedcourses outlined by the Nursing board i an acredited school. Drs. have to pass licensing and sodo Pharmacist, ad otherprofessonals. I agree it's gotten out of hand, t elimiates on job training insome fields like landscaping, and we wonder why?? we have a job shortage, ot everyone can afford to g to school after HS.

    7. Bobbie says:

      Requirements in private business remain with the self governing business where any outside government is ban unless the consumer has a problem. What the private market can provide, government shouldn't be providing or competing against at the expense of tax payers. It's obvious Obama's government overstepped the line again as requirements and all it's expense for impractical government licensing improperly prioritizing is only benefiting the ones who abuse their authority, government. It's real easy to catch onto shampooing especially if you've had your hair shampooed. What a slap in the face with such belittlement for the government to interfere. People that use their imagination in areas of home design, manicure, pedicure, etc. doesn't need outside licensing imposed by government who's approval is not nor should be included in the service purchased. EMs you wonder how qualified they really are if GOVERNMENT requires cosmetologists more schooling?

      Obama's government only wants to control people, not care for them. Look how he promotes some but ignores the murders and rapes of others.

      He doesn't want people learning from each other, he wants everyone learning through his government. He ignores what Americans can do for Americans. Everything government has on Mr. Obama's "to do" list is setting all in favor of government not patriotic Americans he expressively distorts and condescends. America doesn't deserve this at all!

      We're treated like infants. It makes you wonder how or if consumer protection is handled outside the control of the people? Obama's businesses hold no accountability? Covered up by laying sacrifice on everyone else.

      Small businesses was all on the owner, done according to his requirements and his consumers that become patrons by choice. Where is Obama's government needed?

      Obama is trying to take this country down with America's money! Humiliating her with his insulting ways!

      Government sets the rules government doesn't have to follow, making it easier for Obama's government's unconstitutional bias favorites and 10 times harder for those who have or want the personal dignity to handle their own. Why wouldn't this be considered treason? Democrats and Obama's media, wonder why they have to lower themselves to reiterate his insults? They're the party with no faith in the people or respect for the peoples' independence to carry on their lives and businesses freely without government dependency…

      Those that favor this man should really be watched…

    8. Defund "government" says:

      It's about time someone highlighted this! I've watched this growing for years. Then they add some social policy or legal requirements to allow you to continue working. This is the next growth sector of bureaucratic control.

      If you don't obey some unrelated policy or law, they take away your "permission" to work.

    9. yupikesk1 says:

      Government involvement inspires government mismanagment and corruption.

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