Occupational licensing is often harmful and unnecessary. Here’s how Arizona eased this burden.

Apr 10, 2019 by AFP

An occupational license is a permit from the government that allows you to work in the profession of your choice.

Many are entirely unnecessary. You shouldn’t need permission from the government to braid hair, work as a florist or as an interior designer. Some states have even issued occupational licenses for fortune telling.

The costs of occupational licensing

Very often, occupational licensing is harmful to Americans simply looking to provide for their families and for themselves. These government “permission slips” to work shut the door to dozens of industries and inflate the cost of services.

What’s more, the average lower-income occupational license in Arizona costs over $450 and requires on average 600 days of training just to begin working. To call these requirements a burden is an understatement. They stand between too many Americans and gainful employment.

And the path to employment has become more onerous over time. In the 1950s, about one-in-twenty Americans required a license to work. Today that number is one-in-four.

Many of these licenses do nothing to protect consumers like they are supposedly intended. Rather, they serve entrenched interests by insulating them from competition.

Arizona’s solution

Arizona has recently taken a positive step forward to remove barriers for incoming workers. State lawmakers passed and Gov. Doug Ducey recently signed, H.B. 2569, which recognizes virtually all out-of-state occupational licenses regardless of how they compare to Arizona’s.

AFP-AZ has supported this bill from the beginning as a positive step towards the larger goal of reducing and removing harmful occupational licensing requirements that remain within the State of Arizona altogether.

H.B. 2569 encourages entrepreneurship, bringing workers to our state that make us more dynamic and productive. As Ivanka Trump noted, reduced licensing burdens can especially help low-income Americans who want to find opportunity in our state.

Rather than retraining for hundreds of days to learn what they already know, and spending hundreds of dollars, new Arizona residents will be able to use the skills they have already acquired to bring economic growth and greater consumer choice to our state.

As we work with everyone to prioritize reducing the remaining occupational licensing barriers that long-time Arizona residents continue to face, we applaud Arizona legislators and Gov. Ducey for taking a step forward in helping people come to Arizona and earn a living more easily.

For more on what AFP-AZ is working on in our state, take a look at our Facebook page.