Updated following passage out of committee in the House:
Dear Rep. Ryan Smith, Speaker of the House,
I write on behalf of Americans for Tax Reform, and our supporters across Ohio, in strong support of Senate Bill 255, which would make Ohio a leader on occupational licensing reform – creating jobs, attracting new workers, and reducing recidivism in the criminal justice system.
Occupational licensing has exploded in the last 50 years, putting often unnecessary burdens in the way of more than 1-in-4 Americans (National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER).
Ohio places significant barriers in front of workers when a license is required: on average, 341 days of training, fees of $137, and one exam. “Licensing requirements have prevented more than 7,000 people between the ages of 25-45 from pursuing licensed occupations,” according to a Buckeye Institute analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
The damage done to workers and the economy in Ohio is significant. According to an Institute for Justice report, the cost of licensing to the state amounts to 67,000 jobs and over $209 million lost. The state’s wage growth also remains behind national trends.
Occupational licensing makes it harder for the state to attract new workers, as licenses often do not transfer. This places a particularly unfair burden on military spouses who often must move, and endure long waits before they can begin practicing their profession again.
Low-income workers are also negatively impacted. An Archbridge Institute study found more licensing is associated with greater income inequality.
Senate Bill 255 represents a thorough and thoughtful set of reforms to address these issues, made stronger by hearings and revisions from your colleagues in the House Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations.
By directing a review of existing licenses, and automatically sunsetting occupational licensing boards if the legislature does not act to renew them, the bill will remove barriers to employment and entrepreneurship for Ohioans.
The sunset review process empowers the legislature to oversee licenses, while also giving boards plenty of opportunity to demonstrate to lawmakers why certain licenses should be retained.
Further, legitimate safety concerns would be respected and elevated, ensuring consumer safety is protected first and foremost. The impact of licenses on jobs, and the cost to consumers and taxpayers, would be considered before proposed new rules were advanced out of committee.
Additionally, SB 255 would have Ohio’s licensing system better reflect nationwide licensing practices. This great step mirrors ongoing efforts from the Occupational Licensing Project, an effort from 11 participating states to ensure licenses are not overly burdensome, and carry over across state lines.
We urge the House to seize this opportunity to make Ohio a leader in occupational licensing reform by passing SB 255 before the end of session. If you have any questions, please contact ATR State Projects Director Doug Kellogg at 202-785-0266 or [email protected].
Grover G. Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform