Overlooking Occupational Licensing

Source: “Land of the Free? 50 state study on how professional licensing laws lead to fewer jobs,” Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty

Michelle Lujan Grisham’s “Jumpstart New Mexico” is off-the-scale-horrible — a collection of far-left policy shibboleths that, if implemented, would be disastrous for New Mexico’s economy.

But of all the plan’s many facets of awfulness, its failure to even acknowledge a reform that the right and the left agree on is perhaps the most egregious sin.

There is a broad, deep consensus that “the current licensing regime in the United States,” in the words of a 2015 report from the Obama White House, “creates substantial costs, and often the requirements for obtaining a license are not in sync with the skills needed for the job.” The Goldwater Institute, the Rio Grande Foundation’s sister think tank to the west, concluded that occupational licensing often comes “at a steep price, requiring years of expensive schooling and hundreds of dollars in testing and application fees to qualify. Licensing almost always comes at the behest of the regulated industries themselves rather than in response to consumer demands or some demonstrated need to protect the public, according to multiple academic studies and government reports.”

Yesterday, a report by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty provided further ammo to those looking to reverse licensing sprawl. The organization examined “ten regulated professions” — including locksmiths, vet techs, massage therapists, athletic trainers, and manicurists — and measured “the impact of the patchwork of licensing regulations and rules across all 50 states to determine their impact on employment.” Unsurprisingly, WILL found that states “with more burdensome licensure requirements (fees, training hours, exams, and age requirements) had significantly lower employment in the ten professional occupations.”

New Mexico landed at #35 on WILL’s “Red Tape Index.” That was better placement than Arizona (#46) and Oklahoma (#43), but worse than Texas (#28), Colorado (#10), and Utah (#5).

Occupational-licensing reform promises to yield big benefits for states with elected officials willing to tackle entrenched interests and bureaucratic inertia. Looks like Lujan Grisham isn’t one of them.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.