Local License Requirements Killing Jobs

Tuesday, 02 Aug 2011 12:55 AM

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The federal government isn't entirely to blame for high unemployment. Local and state governments are guilty as well.

State legislatures have passed so many onerous and usually pointless requirements on those wishing to enter a trade or line of work that almost one out of every three workers now needs government permission to pursue their preferred line of work, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Back in the 1950s, only one in every 20 workers needed occupational licensure.

The number of jobs that demand licenses of one type or another is remarkable: Everything from travel and tourist guides, funeral attendants, home-entertainment installers, florists, makeup artists, even interpreters for the deaf are all regulated by various states.

Moreover, most of these licenses can only be obtained by fulfilling educational requirements dictated by the government, including examinations. Nor are requirements consistent: pursuing a career as a manicurist requires only about 12 hours worth of training in Alaska, but 40 hours in Iowa, 600 hours in Oregon and 700 hours in Alabama.

Even right-to-work such as North Carolina appear eager for more regulation: The Tarheel state’s 2011 legislative session included efforts to regulate naturopaths, pedorthists (people who fit orthotics), community-association managers and even music therapists.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that when Indiana lawmakers debated right to work legislation, house Democrats left the state for five weeks this year to block Republicans from obtaining a quorum and thereby advancing the measure.

The move was similar to that of Wisconsin Senate Democrats who staged a walkout to stifle Republican Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to cut collective bargaining rights.

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