His state ranked fourth, behind only Delaware and two Canadian provinces on the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom of North America, current Texas Governor Rick Perry has long touted Texas’s economic prosperity, resulting from the relatively low level of taxation and regulation, two of the principal components of economic freedom.
The desire to enhance economic freedom must be spreading in Texas or else there is something in the Lone Star state’s water that prompted the 2014 candidate for governor to announce an initiative that, if implemented, would certainly help create jobs and propel economic growth and freedom in Texas even higher.
Texas attorney general and candidate for Governor, Greg Abbott, has proposed reforming his state’s occupational licensing requirements for jobs that have no direct impact on consumer health or safety, doing away with most.
In this post, Pam Villarreal, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, commenting on Abbott’s proposal, explains that reducing or eliminating occupational licensing requirements is a great way to spur growth and help the poor, an outcome candidates on both sides of the aisle should feel comfortable supporting.
Why should Show-Me candidates heed the message of Texas candidate Greg Abbott?
Missouri currently ranks thirty-eighth among the combined sixty states and Canadian provinces on the latest Economic Freedom Index; labor freedom in Missouri lags Texas and many other states. Scholarly studies by economists demonstrate a high correlation between economic freedom and prosperity. But occupational regulation is on the rise; almost one in three wage earners must satisfy a licensing requirement.
Where is Missouri on increasing prosperity and slowing the expansion of burdensome and restrictive occupational licensing?
In the last legislative session, the Missouri Sunrise Act, a good start on occupational licensing reform, was filed and widely supported. It provides that no new occupational licensing regulation may be created unless those demanding the licensing (usually to limit competition) could justify their position after an intensive review process. The measure, which was voted out of the Professional Registration and Licensing committee, stalled in the House Rules Committee.
Show-Me candidates for the General Assembly as well as state-wide offices should show their desire to improve the prosperity of all Missourians by supporting occupational licensing reform, like the Sunrise Act and the reforms proposed by the Texas candidate for governor.