Arizona recently became the first state to recognize other states occupational licenses. This reform will help Arizonas economy, consumers, and licensed workers across the country. Other states should follow the states lead and then push on to more radical reform.
Occupational licensing has become a major regulatory burden on our economy. Today, one in five workers in the United States needs government permission to practice a profession. Only one in 20 workers required such permission in 1950.Licensing is not just widespread; its also burdensome. A 2017 Institute for Justice report found that the average license for a low-income profession required almost a year of education or training, the passing of an exam, and the payment of $260 in fees. Since states do most of the licensing, when licensed professionals move to a new state, they have to get relicensed.
After Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed the reform he said, Weve heard too many stories of licensed, experienced professionals denied the opportunity to work upon moving to Arizona.... With this first-in-the-nation reform, Arizonans who have recently moved here will be able to put their skills to work faster and without all the red tape.
Not only will people put their skills to work faster, but theyll also be more likely to move to Arizona in the first place. A 2017 study by economists Janna Johnson and Morris Kleiner found that people in licensed occupations were 36 percent less likely to move across state lines than people in unlicensed professions.
Other states have every reason to emulate Arizona. Even if licenses are needed to ensure competency, that competency doesnt disappear when workers move. An electrician licensed as safe and competent in Texas doesnt suddenly become incompetent when he moves across the line into New Mexico.