Columnist Adam Sullivan is right to call on the Iowa Legislature to implement occupational licensing reform. It is good policy, bipartisan, and leads to increased prosperity through economic competition consistent with free market principles. It is also, in some instances, a reform required by our Constitutions.
According to a recent study by the Institute for Justice, Iowa’s workers are the second-most widely licensed in the country, with 24.3% requiring a license to work in their chosen occupation. This costs Iowans some $4.6 billion per year, and nearly 50,000 lost jobs.
Apart from the economic harm they inflict, excessively burdensome licensing regulations also run the risk of violating the Constitution, state and federal, both of which protect the right to earn an honest living in a common occupation free from unreasonable government regulation.
However you look at it, occupational licensing reform makes sense. The sooner Iowa legislators realize that, the better.
Institute for Justice