The Pelican Institute’s report on occupational licensing shows how Louisiana is an outlier and low to moderate income Louisianans are held back because of the regulations.

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NEW ORLEANS– The right to earn a living is the cornerstone of the American Dream, but occupational licensure is an often-overlooked form of regulation that stifles job opportunities for low to moderate income Louisianans and hinders their chances of finding work. A report released by the Pelican Institute shows the direct correlation between licensure and a decrease in economic mobility for Louisianans.

Louisiana’s licensing problem is far reaching and the most onerous in the country. The Pelican State licenses 77 out of 102 low to moderate income professions which ties Louisiana for the most burdensome laws in the country. These professions include florists, alarm installers, interior designers, and many other professions that don’t have any public safety or health rationale for their existence. More than 22 percent of workers must obtain a license to be able to get a job and earn a living, which is the highest rate in the Southeast.

“Louisiana is an outlier in our licensing laws and low to moderate income Louisianans pay the price for this arbitrary barrier to opportunity. We require years of training and hundreds of dollars just for people to be able to get a job and put food on the table. Louisiana is one of the poorest states and our job growth is stagnant. Now is the time for reform to allow people to find work and begin to build a better future for their families,” said Daniel Erspamer, CEO of the Pelican Institute.

The report shows that Louisiana’s licensing laws directly correlates to a 6.6 percent decrease in economic mobility. This means a child born into a low-income family in Louisiana faces more difficulty escaping poverty because of Louisiana’s draconian licensing laws.

“When we talk about burdensome licensing, we are talking about professions that are not licensed in most states like florists and interior designers. Louisiana licenses these professions, preventing the poorest of Louisianans from being able to follow their chosen career path and escape poverty. The ability to get a job and provide a better life for your children than you had is central to the American Dream, but as licensing grows it stifles job opportunities and economic mobility, especially for those who most need it,” said Raheem Williams, Director of the Kane Center for Opportunity Policy.

The Pelican Institute laid out a series of recommendations to reform licensing in Louisiana:

  • Ensure people have the right to earn a living by placing the onus on the state to document why licensing is necessary, and to tailor it to achieve public health, safety, or welfare objectives.
  • Reduce barriers to interstate mobility created by state level occupational licensing by recognizing out of state licenses which will help attract workers to Louisiana.
  • Create sunrise and sunset reviews for licensing to assess the scale, scope, and stringency of occupational licensing laws and compare them to other states to make sure there is a health or safety related need to license the profession.
  • Fix licensing provisions for formerly incarcerated citizens reentering the workforce by prohibiting boards from denying any ex-offender a license, unless the board determines that the conviction is directly related to the license being sought.

To read the full report click here