Policy Reform: Reduce Occupational Licensing Mandates

Occupational licensing laws hurt low income workers in Rhody

The quid-pro-quo cycle of Cronyism

The quid-pro-quo cycle of Cronyism

Rhode Island workers should be free of unnecessary fees and licensing requirements when pursuing an opportunity to earn a living, especially lower income workers hoping to embark on a new career path. Consumers will enjoy lower prices when some of these barriers are torn down.


With the 2nd most burdensome level in New England and 13th nationally, Rhode Island makes it more difficult and costly for many of us to embark on new careers. During these trouble economic times in the Ocean State, it is especially important that RI workers have enhanced freedom and face fewer barriers when beginning gainful employment.

A. Eliminate the Annual Minimum Corporate (Franchise) Tax

While formally a tax, this entrepreneur-killing law is really more of a licensing fee. It requires all corporate entities – brand new or not; profitable or not – to pay a minimum fee of $500 per year to the state in order to retain its license to do business – yet another disincentive to start a business that can create jobs.

B. Other Occupational Licensing Reforms:

  1.  Create a “sunrise” provision that requires advocates of new licensing proposals to prove their need before they are approved.
  2.   Ensure that all licensing boards have a super-majority of members drawn from the general public rather than the profession itself.
  3.   Replace mandatory licensing with voluntary certification in professions that do not directly affect the safety of the general public.
  4.   Implement a “sunset” provision that requires all other current licensing laws to expire, unless they are periodically reauthorized after a rigorous review process.
  5.   Enact legislation protecting the right to earn a living.

View the Center’s “Occupational Licensing” policy brief here … 

View Occupational Licensing Study by the Institute for Justice … “(Licensing) Boards Behaving Badly”

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *