How free are you to engage in the occupation of your choice? In Oregon the answer appears to be—not so much. No one is quite sure how many occupations actually require a license, but The Oregon License Directory currently contains 1,190 entries by 113 agencies. While items like drivers’ licenses and concealed carry handgun permits are included, many are occupational licenses, and those often take significant time and money to obtain. Also, the site warns that not all jurisdictions are even in the directory yet, so “adding these additional licenses may take years.”

Recently, one lobbyist told a legislative committee why he thought the state requires such licensing. He said:

“The only reason that the state of Oregon through the Oregon legislature licenses any individual profession or industry is to
protect the public health, safety and welfare. That’s it.”
*

But that’s not the only reason. All too often, existing practitioners ask government to impose requirements that keep competitors and newcomers out of their markets, effectively denying them the right to earn an honest living. As one academic notes, “Occupational regulation has served to limit consumer choice, raise consumer costs…deprive the poor of adequate services, and restrict job opportunities for minorities—all without demonstrated improvement in quality or safety of the licensed activities.”

Cascade has been instrumental in reducing license requirements in the home moving and natural hair braiding fields.

It’s time to greatly expand the right to earn an honest living in Oregon.

* Jim Markee, lobbyist for the Oregon Association of Cosmetology Colleges, testifying on HB 3409 (which reduced licensing requirements on natural hair braiders) before the Senate General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection Committee, May 17, 2013. The quote starts at the 37:18 mark in the hearing audio archive.

Oregon Licensed Occupations 2006

Steve Buckstein is founder and Senior Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

 

2 Responses to “Expanding the Chance to Earn an Honest Living in Oregon”

  1. Donna Bleiler June 15, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Every license fee and restricting regulation is an added tax to do business and it rolls down to consumers. If all the fees collected were added to the state budget for operation of that agency, we would be more than shocked.

  2. Rob June 26, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    Glad to see you are taking up the important cause of changing licensing requirements for natural hair braiders and home movers.

Leave a Reply

 

Other Publications by Steve

A free-market guru with ties to Portland

Steve Buckstein | July 29, 2014
In honor of Milton Friedman’s 102nd birthday this July 31, below is Steve Buckstein’s op-ed in Friedman’s memory, which appeared in The Oregonian the day after Friedman passed ...  read more

Oregon’s Prescription-Only Cold Medicine Law Needs a New Look

Steve Buckstein | July 22, 2014
In recent years, Cascade Policy Institute has tracked and analyzed the effectiveness of a 2006 Oregon state law that requires all citizens to obtain a ...  read more

Common Sense this Independence Day

Steve Buckstein | July 4, 2014
I’ve taken two tours of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Though it was full of vivid history about the signers of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration, I don’t ...  read more

More On These Topics

Time for a Third Bridge to Vancouver

John Charles | July 30, 2014
Last week a conceptual plan for a new bridge over the Columbia River was unveiled at a public forum in Vancouver, WA. The plan, presented ...  read more

A Prescription for Affordable Housing in Portland

A new issue faces Portland. City Hall is considering waiving development fees for developers of market-rate housing in the Old Town Chinatown district.  read more

Portland Public Schools’ New Ombudsman Should Be Independent

In response to parent complaints, Portland Public Schools will create a new ombudsman position. An ombudsman is a person within an organization who provides accountability ...  read more