A Matter Of Opinion

FRIDAY, AUG. 24, 2007, 9:03 A.M.

May I see your license, please?

Governments require licenses for everyone from doctors and lawyers to florists
and fortune tellers. It is time we took a closer look at the costs and benefits of licensing
regulations, and why they were enacted in the first place.

That comment comes from a report issued recently by the libertarian Reason Foundation.
The study ranked states according to how many occupations are subject to licensing oversight; California was first with 177 and Missouri was 50th with 41.
What about our region?
It probably won't surprise you to learn Idaho ranks 46th among the states, requiring licenses for 61 occupations.
And Washington comes in at, ta-ta, 49th. (Be honest, you didn't expect that, did you?)
Of the 53 occupations this state licenses, all but 10 of them are regulated by all 50 states and of those 10, only four are under licensing requirements by fewer than half the states. The most notable aberrations? Washington and Rhode Island are the only two states to license travel agents, and Washington is one of only seven states to license "property, real estate and community association managers."

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A Matter of Opinion is really a matter of three opinions – those held by the people responsible for the opinion pages of The Spokesman-Review. Check in regularly to find out what they’re up to, what they think and where they differ and to joust with them if you want.