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On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the New Hope and Opportunity through the Power of Employment (HOPE) Act, H.R. 2155, introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.). The bill would incentivize states to reform occupational licensing laws that limit competition in the marketplace.
Occupational licensing laws protect politically connected special interests, creating costly barriers to entry that prevent Americans who simply want to utilize their skills to earn an honest living. According to the Goldwater Institute, as many as 30 percent of occupations require a license. These occupations include athletic trainers, barbers, cosmetologists, florists, manicurists, and travel guides.
In most states, it actually takes longer to qualify for an occupational license to be an athletic trainer – an average 1,460 days of education and experience and $443 in fees, according to a 2012 study by the Institute for Justice – than it does to be an emergency medical technician (EMT) – 33 days of education and experience and $85 in fees.
These barriers to entry have led to a loss of as many of $2.85 million jobs and $203 billion in annual economic losses due to consumers paying higher prices from licensed, or government sanctioned, workers. Moreover, many states prohibit those who have committed low-level offenses from obtaining an occupation license, which can increase recidivism and create more crime.
The purpose of the New HOPE Act is simple. The bill would make existing funds available through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to incentivize states to reform or eliminate occupational licensing laws that create barriers to entry and infringe on the right to earn an honest living.
For these reasons, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the New HOPE Act, H.R. 2155.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks