Licensing a barrier to employment

Greg R. Lawson Jan 13, 2020

This letter to the editor appeared in The Blade.

It would be a mistake for the city of Toledo to add more occupational licensing requirements that will block people from getting good-paying jobs. City council’s proposal to license drywall professionals will do little to protect the health and safety of the citizens, and a city license, which compels competent drywall installers to pay a fee, will only make it more difficult for people to gain employment.

It is not only The Buckeye Institute that recognizes the harmful impact of overzealous occupational licensing regimes. There is bipartisan consensus that occupational licensing requirements harm workers. The Obama and Trump administrations have said that the growth of licensing makes it more difficult for many, especially the lower-income, to earn a living.

A study by the National Council of State Legislatures said, “The growth in licensure could influence worker wages, consumer prices, employment in licensed occupations, disadvantaged or populations with challenges who want to work in a licensed occupation.”

In 2018, Ohio passed a law calling for a comprehensive review of all licensing boards, and the first report, released in December, called for changes that will allow more Ohioans to get good-paying jobs. Ohio is now considering adopting universal occupational licensing reciprocity.

The Toledo City Council should follow this path. By eliminating needless licenses, the council will help citizens, particularly lower-income workers who can’t afford the fees, to get good paying jobs.

Research Fellow, Buckeye Institute