Expanding the Chance to Earn an Honest Living in Oregon

Photo Credit: Poulsen Photo/Freedigitalphotos.net

Photo Credit: Poulsen Photo/Freedigitalphotos.net

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.

Learn more at cascadepolicy.org.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn Post to Reddit

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Economy, Employment | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    There should be at a minimum a clause whereby two folks or more wanting to transact a service or business venture between themselves can formally waive the state and/or local government’s otherwise license guidelines and standards. Actually, the next step after this would be to allow these same type of transactions to waive state minimum wage requirements, prevailing wage requirements, and any stupid like City of Portland private sector sick leave mandates (brought to you by nanny state mom Amanda Fritz). Given the trillion dollars like the U.S and the states spend on social safety nets, we should at least get a lot more freedom to conduct business without these intrusive state and federal mandates. Actually, if you remove restrictions rather than continually add to them, we might actually lower the cost of providing a good quality social safety net as there would be less of a draw upon it. Individuals would have greater opportunity to work and help meet their life expenses.

  • ardbeg

    Steve, a contractor has to be licensed, bonded and insured to run a business. As they should be. I looked at your link and thought maybe when I retire I’ll become a fishing guide. That profession also requires a license and bond along with a whopping $50 fee. If there are individual professions where the requirements and fees are totally out of whack then address them. I don’t see any restrictions that would prohibit anyone from starting a hunting or fishing guide service, so lets not generalize “all” licensing is bad for business or keeping people from earning a living. Some others: RN=$85, tax consultant=$75.

    • .

      Taxing common sensibilities for any superfluous reason beyond governmentium seethes supercilious over the sop, ardbeg!!!

    • While actual fees may be modest, other requirements can be stifling. For
      example, until the law was changed in 2009, any competitor could stop
      you from receiving a home moving license.

      In Portland, you
      couldn’t get a taxi license without “proving” that there was a need for
      one more taxi on the street – a virtually impossible task without
      actually putting that vehicle on the street.

      Other professions, like cosmetology, require more than 1,000 hours of training which may cost $10,000 or more.

      • Ardbeg

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for correcting the injustice but it seems to be just a few. It’s not the whole system that’s screwed up. I do agree Portland has the most retarded taxi rules on the planet. Maybe that’s the next thing that needs fixing.

        • JacklordGod

          >so lets not generalize “all” licensing is bad for business or keeping people from earning a living.

          Where is anyone generalizing in this fashion? Can you point to where in the article the argument is made that all licensing is bad?

          > It’s not the whole system that’s screwed up

          Can you to point where in the article it is claimed the entire system is screwed up?

          You seem to be arguing against a point never made here.

          • ardbeg

            “How free are you to engage in the occupation of your choice? In Oregon the answer appears to be—not so much.” Unless your a total f-stain, the very first sentence seems to clearly imply “I may not be free to engage in the occupation of my choice.”, and set the tone for the article. Are you just looking for an argument to lose? Quit trying to pick a fight. I agreed cumbersome fees and regulations should be removed. What more do you want?

  • Rick

    I was a private investigator in Oregon during the late 70’s and our only requirement was to purchase a business license.
    Then Lawyers pressed legislation in that severely restricted this occupation to working for someone with a license who was grandfathered in because they had been an agency owner for the previous 5 or more years or you worked for a licensed Attorney.

    The net effect was If I chose to work under a private license they had to charge $25 dollars an hour to pay expenses and labor, but if I worked for an attorney, I only made $15 per hour.

    Prior to this Attorneys were paying the company (Krout & Schneider) I worked for $23 per hour. We had to ask for a 10 hour retaining because they were so flakey in bill their paying. Well ain’t this a sweet deal.

    Thank you Oregon.

    Rick Hake

    • .

      Hey, what’s with the *itch sucking $15k/mo from PPS? Throw this kind of bs out with the backwater this lawyer flowed in with!

      • Rick

        What is “*itch sucking” Where did the $15k/mo come from? and what is PPS? Why isn’t this poster Identified? Whoever it was it is way to early to be drinking.

        • .

          DimRick, are you not paying about the dingaling sucking the Potland Public Schools charade role?
          Wake up, wake up – that a fee that’s not a very good price and I dare say most taxpaying Potlander’s agree you sic hic?.

          • Rick

            Dear boozer guest, I am not aware of what you are talking about. I am from southern Oregon near Grants Pass. I thought this thread was discussing the control of businesses by big companies through oppressive regulations. I am not aware of the public school issue, except to say obviously you never attended one. you are not only a coward unwilling to identify yourself, but you are an ignorant alcoholic. This is my last response to you. I don’t know why the moderater even allows your ignorant banter.

          • .

            OK Rick, you apparently shlepping with blind fishes shillgrim!

            Alas, I formerly thought Sou OR smarter, e.g. State of Jefferson…than what’s blinging up North snowing with tempestuous liberal shismry, yet then along came Jeff Merkley. Ay carumba!

            Anyhowl, Yvonne Deckart is the $15k /mo person in question. Too, please note Gov Flixhabers boo buck 300k and all expenses paid Education Czar, Rudy Crew, taking a red eye special back to NY after under-performing for less than one year!

            Oy vey iz mir! Agree or disagree?

          • .

            Copy that Rick schtick?

  • Myke

    Most of the regulating agencies are for the sole purpose of stifling competition. Look at the make-up of the boards that set the rules regarding licences. It is restrictive to allowing competition. Though some regulation of specific industries are needed, most need to let market forces dictate who succeeds and who fails, not governmental dictating. They call Oregon a ‘right to work’ state. Not in reality.

    • Actually, Myke, Oregon is NOT a Right to Work state. The term applies to states that have opted, under federal labor law, to allow workers in union-organized shops to opt-out of union membership and opt-out of paying what in Oregon we call “fair share” dues supposedly to cover the costs of collective bargaining.

      In Oregon, workers can opt out of union membership but are still generally required to pay fair share dues even if they object to the union bargaining on their behalf. Hopefully this situation will change in the not too distant future.

  • Chris

    I don’t want no one messing with my hairs if they ain’t got a license.

    • Chris, then by all means don’t frequent anyone for your hair care who doesn’t have a state cosmetology license. But please grant others the freedom to make their own choices about who they do business with.

  • Britt Storkson

    I don’t mind the licenses as long as the boards would enforce them uniformly. If the enforcement agency isn’t going to do their job then it’s time to get rid of them.

    I’ve been a licensed landscape contractor for 30+ years and have always renewed my license on time. Except a couple a years ago around the time my wife died I missed the renewal and was nailed for a $200 penalty.
    I asked the landscape contractors board why I was nailed for such a minor infraction while other contractors with serious complaints were ignored and their answer was: “You were low hanging fruit. An easy target”.

    If that’s what they call “consumer protection” we don’t need it.

    • Britt, sorry to hear about your personal experience with the landscape contractors board. Unfortunately you’re right; too often such boards operate not primarily to protect consumers but to protect the those “professionals” who they supposedly oversee.

Stay Tuned...

Stay up to date with the latest political news and commentary from Oregon Catalyst through daily email updates:

Prefer another subscription option? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, become a fan on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Twitter Facebook

No Thanks (close this box)