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Iowa has some issues when it comes to occupational licensing. The Institute for Justice says Iowa is one of the worst states for occupational licensing for lower-income workers.


In the 1950s, 1 in 20 U.S. workers needed a license to work for pay. Today 6 in 20 workers need a license.

Iowa is one of seven states the require travel agents to be licensed. Barbers in Iowa must demonstrate almost 20 times more experience than an emergency medical technician.

Iowans For Tax Relief is working at the Capitol to encourage legislators to consider scaling some of this red tape tax back.

“Iowans who want to pursue a profession should be allowed the opportunity without unnecessary burdens — including excessive fees and inconsistent requirements,” ITR says. “Economic research has demonstrated that many requirements do not protect the public, but are a barrier to entry for new professionals, primarily supported by those who want to limit competition.”

The group proposes five solutions:

  1. Review all existing licensing requirements.
  2. Repeal licenses that are not necessary to protect the health and safety of the public.
  3. Modify licensing laws that are not competitive.
  4. Enact sunset provisions so that all licensing laws are reviewed periodically.
  5. Review licensing boards.

Reworking these issues will provide numerous benefits.

“Creating jobs, boosting entrepreneurial opportunities, reducing prices and increasing incomes are all positive results of occupational licensing reform,” ITR’s statement says. “By reevaluating and reducing Iowa’s bureaucratic red tape tax that is job licensing, legislators can empower Iowans to thrive.”

Author: Jacob Hall

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