Occupational Licensing Stifles Alabama’s Economy

Occupational licensing is a threat to Alabama’s growing economy, and the families who inhabit the Yellowhammer state.

What started as a great idea, quickly turned into a unruly monster once the government saw how much money could be made from essentially taxing men and women’s right to hold certain occupations.

The original purpose of these licenses was to protect consumers from those who would offer them a bad or unsafe product or service; but over time license requirements became more extensive, costly, and now cover a numerous amount of vocations.

In the beginning of 2018, the Alabama Policy Institute released a report detailing how detrimental, and costly occupational licensure is to Alabama.

According to the report, ”Alabama licenses a total of 151 occupations, covering over 432,000 Alabama workers, which represents over 21 percent of the state’s labor force.”

“We estimate the total initial costs of occupational licensure, excluding the educational costs, to be $122 million. Annual license renewal costs both workers and consumers (who often pay for these costs in increased prices) $45 million total.

In Alabama the average initial licensing fee is $319. But there’s one occupation that comes with the highest initial cost of licensure. Can you guess what it is?

Interior designers.

Interior designers in Alabama have a cost of $1,565 for their initial licensure.

This is not the only example of seemingly wild licenses and the education that’s necessary to get them; according to the report, ““In Alabama, a manicurist must clock 750 hours, plus take and pass written and practical exams. A manicurist’s education is more expensive than that of an emergency medical technician (EMT).”

Currently these licenses, (rather than protecting consumers):

  • restrict entry into certain professions
  • make consumer prices higher
  • reduce the amount of competition in the industry
  • hamper economic mobility occupational choice
  • restrict consumer choices

Conservative Legislators who advocate for a dynamic economy, and lower taxes should be pitching a fit over the government’s taxing of men and women’s right to hold certain occupations, but when was the last time you heard anyone mention it?

Join Conservatives for Better Leadership in calling on our legislators to cut out the ridiculous licenses and free our economy.