According to the Institute for Justice, there exist 52 low-income occupations that require licensing in New Mexico, including everything from funeral attendants to animal trainers.1 These requirements order individuals to pay fees as well as invest a considerable amount of time in training and education. For example, an individual must commit approximately two years in experience before receiving a license to become a pest control applicator, while an aspiring emergency medical technician is required to invest 42 days and pass two exams.2
These licensing requirements for low-income occupations create barriers to entry for those who can’t invest the time or money simply in order to gain governmental permission to work. This results in fewer businesses, which means less competition and higher prices for consumers. If such professions were deregulated and the mandatory licensing system was abolished more entrepreneurs could enter the market and provide their goods and services. The current system solely benefits those businesses that have already attained their licenses, providing protection from potential competitors.
To advocate for abolishing the absurd licensing requirements in New Mexico is not to take the position that standards are unnecessary, rather to promote the idea that such standards should be brought about by consumers and not arbitrarily established by bureaucrats. If state licensing was optional, businesses would have the choice of pursuing or abstaining from going through the licensing process. Consumers could then choose to pay the additional premium set by a licensed business or opt for an unlicensed service that would in most cases be cheaper.
New Mexico needs to rid itself of these unreasonable licensing standards. With fewer state sanctioned obstacles in the way of entrepreneurs, both consumers and small businesses will benefit.
1Dick Carpenter II, Lisa Knepper, Angela C. Erickson, John K.Ross, "License to Work," The Institute for Justice, May 2012, http://www.ij.org/licensetowork