Texas Attorney General Proposes Lifting Licensing Requirements

August 11, 2014

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is in the running for governor. Just recently, Abbott proposed to get rid of occupational licensing in jobs that have no direct impact on consumer health or safety.

NCPA Senior Fellow Pam Villarreal says that the measure is a great way to help the poor, because it reduces costs on would-be entrepreneurs, allowing them to enter trades without being held back by unnecessary requirements. If the proposal passes, Texas can expect to see higher revenue and economic growth; as Villarreal notes, licensing laws reduce job growth by 20 percent.

The Abbott proposal would reform or repeal licenses in a number of fields, including:

  • Interior designers
  • Dog trainers
  • Auctioneers
  • Barbers
  • Cosmetologists

Abbott offers a number of recommendations that could improve Texas' licensing system, including abolishing criminal penalties for licensing violations as well as creating a reciprocity regime that allows individuals licensed in other jurisdictions to practice in Texas. He also proposes an "opt-out" exemption for those working in occupations not related to health or safety. As long as a person gives notice that he is operating without a state-issued license, Abbott recommends allowing them to opt out of licensing requirements.

The NCPA has previously reported on the burdens of occupational licensing. While licensing advocates argue that licenses are for consumer protection, they reduce competition and are generally supported by those already in the affected trade. Villarreal explains that licensing is no guarantee of quality. Furthermore, by opening up a trade to more individuals, competition grows and forces out sub-par providers.

Source: Pam Villarreal, "Finally! A Proposal That Would Foster Entrepreneurship in Texas," Retirement and Taxes: Reforms that Make "Cents" Blog, National Center for Policy Analysis, August 8, 2014. 

 

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