The Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, under the chairmanship of Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), today conducted a hearing to examine the impact of burdensome occupational licensing laws on business startups and the economy overall.
As the economy and employment situation remains sluggish, many unemployed and underemployed Americans are considering starting their own business or using a skill or talent to earn an income. However, for many of these workers, potentially costly and burdensome licensing requirements are presenting a significant barrier to economic opportunity.
“During the past five years, economic freedom and entrepreneurial opportunity have declined in America due to burdensome and unnecessary occupational licensing laws,” said Chairman Hanna. “For enterprising and motivated individuals to have every opportunity for economic success, we must repeal licensing laws and regulations that slow growth while serving no true public interest. The stories from today’s hearing demonstrate how these laws are creating barriers to entrepreneurship and putting a damper on competition, innovation, and prosperity.”
Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.
Melony Armstrong, Owner of Naturally Speaking in Tupelo, MS said, “Every day, hundreds of low-income families are housed because of my work. But I don’t run a shelter. They are clothed through what I’ve done. But I don’t run a second-hand clothing store. They are fed because of what I achieve. But I don’t run a soup kitchen. I have transformed the lives of hundreds of poor women in my state of Mississippi not because I sought out government assistance for them; rather, because I demanded that the government get out of my way so I could provide for myself and for my family, and so other women around me could do likewise in peace, dignity and prosperity.”
Patti Morrow, President of Interior Design Protection Consulting in Greer, SC said, “Two years ago, I moved to South Carolina, and it was déjà vu, all over again. In 2012 and 2013, I had to take time away from my business to drive to Columbia multiple times to speak with legislators and testify at hearings. As of right now, the latest bill has been tabled. But for how long? Licensing this industry is nothing more than restraint of trade and is a job killer.”
Timothy Sandefur, Principal Attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento, CA said, “Sadly, licensing restrictions have been abused for centuries by established businesses as a way to prohibit economic competition, enabling them to raise their prices while barring newcomers from the market. This harms consumers and restricts economic opportunity for precisely those who most need it. While these abuses generally take place at the state level, Congress has authority to protect economic freedom and secure the blessings for economic liberty for all.”