In Texas, anyone wanting to practice one of 514 occupations must obtain an occupational license. The occupations licensed extend beyond professionally certified services to horse tooth floaters, hair braiders and weavers, funeral directors, body piercers and referees.
Occupational licensing reduces competition by creating requirements designed to eliminate or displace competitors. For example, when a legislator suggested testing a pilot program for licensing mechanics, numerous mechanics argued that the good mechanics would leave Houston to avoid the added paperwork.
A study from the University of Minnesota discovered, “Occupational licensing reduces employment growth in states that are licensed relative to those that are not regulated.” Occupational licensing has eliminated competition in the marketplace, driving up prices for consumers.
House Bill 1451 would require that every person who breeds more than eleven dogs or cats, at one time, obtain an occupational license. House Bill 1451 would raise the costs for Texas commercial dog and cat breeders through stringent requirements about the housing of such animals.
Further, it would require additional fees for third-party facility inspections to ensure compliance. If the breeder can obtain a license, the licensing department will inspect his facilities at least once every year and a half at the expense of the breeder.
These licensing requirements discourage business growth and could even push Texan commercial dog and cat breeders to other states.
Dan Hammermesh, UT Professor of Economics, noted that licensing requirements nationwide cost an annual total of $34 to $41 billion.
Besides being costly to licensees and taxpayers (it requires an increase of 16 FTEs), House Bill 1451 is unlikely to change much. Research comparing the quality of work in a given field detected little difference between licensed workers and unlicensed workers.
The Texas Legislature should not license dog and cat breeders, but instead should begin to eliminate excess Texas licensing requirements.
-Ben SnodgrassResearch Fellow, Center for Economic Freedom