In a new study by the Reason Foundation, Adam B. Summers explores the issue of Occupational Licensing. Why is this a problem: “While occupational licensing laws are billed as a means of protecting the public from negligent, unqualified, or otherwise substandard practitioners, in reality they are simply a means of utilizing government regulation to serve narrow economic interests. Such special-interest legislation is designed not to protect consumers, but rather to protect existing business interests from competition.”
As a result of reduced competition, the economy suffers. The study found that “By restricting competition, licensing decreases the rate of job growth by an average of 20 percent. The total cost of licensing regulations is estimated at between $34.8 billion and $41.7 billion per year.”
Not surprisingly, Maine is at the top of the list with the 3rd highest number of licensed jobs at 134. However, this is a region-wide problem with all New England states having above average licensing requirements: Connecticut (rank #2, 155); New Hampshire (rank #4, 130); Rhode Island (rank #7, 116); Massachusetts (rank #12, 1007) and Vermont (rank #15, 107). The “State Average” is 92.
Maine also has two licensing requirements that made “The Nation’s Most Outrageous Licensing Laws” list–Beekeeper license and Prospector license. Other laws you may find particularly amusing: Manure Applicator (Iowa), Rainmaker (Arizona), Reptile/Amphibian Catcher (Michigan) and Turtle Farmer (Louisiana).
As if Maine legislators don’t have enough to deal with in terms of tax reform/reduction, health care reform, budget deficits, etc. Now they should add occupational licensing reform to their agenda. Also, don’t forget about the dismal liability climate in Maine either.