Texas GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Proposes Deregulating Entry Points For Small Businesses

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Greg Abbott, attorney general of Texas and the GOP’s candidate for Governor, recently unveiled a proposal that, if adopted, would put an end to State licensure requirements that currently govern such small-business occupations as cosmetology, coaching, dog training and interior design.

Under Abbott’s plan, the State would repeal occupational licensure requirements that currently bureaucratize a number of occupations that otherwise would be accessible to a greater number of small-scale entrepreneurs: barbers, hairdressers, towing operators, auctioneers and the like.

Here’s a portion of Abbott’s proposal as it relates to cosmetology, justifying the repeal of such licenses on the basis of their unnecessary expense and invasive government oversight:

Important  health  and  safety  laws,  such  as  those  requiring  sanitary  conditions  in  salons,  or  other consumer  protection  laws,  such  as  the  prohibition  on  price  gouging,  would  be  maintained. However, Texas should scale back its  licensing  laws  considerably.  Doing so will create more opportunity  for individuals and result  in increased  economic growth.  For  example,  when  Mississippi  repealed  its cosmetology  license  requirement  for  hair braiders  and  replaced  it  with  a  registration  requirement,  300 new  braiders  registered  with  the  state. Not only  did  they  relocate from neighboring  states, but  also stopped  working  in  Mississippi  in  secret  and  became  open  members  of  the  economic community.

…Requirements  that  otherwise  limit  the  ability of  qualified  individuals  to  pursue  their  chosen career  path are  unnecessary  and  should  not  be  adopted.

The proposal would also abolish criminal penalties for not obtaining licensure in fields for which it is not required by the State on the basis of protecting public safety and public health.

“A person seeking to engage in economic activity should not be made a criminal for failure to comply with a licensing requirement, except where public health or safety is clearly at risk,” the proposal states. “Just as a license is no guarantee that the holder will not engage in criminal activity, so the lack of a license should not, by itself, render the person a criminal.”

Abbott’s plan has drawn praise from conservative policy groups since its unveiling earlier this month. “Of all the proposals designed to help poor and lower-income people, this one deserves major kudos,” wrote the National Center for Policy Analysis. “It does not involve expansion of a massive government program, and it reduces the cost to those who wish to profit from their knowledge and skills.”

Abbott is running against Democrat Wendy Davis in a bid to succeed current Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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