It appears Governor Joe Lombardo was serious when he said he was going to help Nevadans get back to work, as evidenced by his recent executive order addressing Nevada’s burdensome system of occupational licensing laws.
Nevada’s licensing laws for lower-income jobs are the most oppressive nationwide. These laws require people to pay enormous fees before they can enter into gainful employment. For example, Nevada landscape contractors must pay a national-high $1,215 licensing fee. Travel guides, a profession most states rightfully do not license at all, must pay $2,250 in fees! But the fees aren’t even the worst of it. Excessive training or schooling requirements can cost aspiring workers even more. An aspiring cosmetologist in Nevada, for example, must undergo 1600 hours of training, at their own expense. California, by contrast, only requires 1,000 hours of training. Is there any serious argument that California cosmetologists are putting their customers at harm because they get to go to work sooner and with less debt? The cost of imposing those extra and unnecessary 600 hours of training, however, is very real, and can make all the difference for someone trying to obtain gainful employment in these kinds of lower-income jobs.
So, we know that Nevada’s onerous licensing laws suppress jobs, and therefore raise prices for consumers. They also do something else, however. They also lead to higher rates of recidivism, as those who served their time and are now wishing to reenter society and engage in lawful employment are effectively barred from doing so, as they simply cannot afford to comply with Nevada’s excessively burdensome licensing laws. Thus, by allowing Nevadans to exercise their fundamental right to work, Lombardo’s reform proposal will make it easier for those wishing to turn their lives around to do so. In addition to being an objectively good and just thing to do, this will also have the added bonus of reducing the costs associated with increased recidivism and incarceration—a cost that is, of course, borne entirely by Nevada taxpayers.
In sum, Governor Lombardo’s reform will allow existing workers in these fields to keep more of their hard-earned money. The reform will also create new jobs (one study estimates an 8.5% employment boost), which will ultimately lead to lower prices for consumers. Finally, getting rid of these barriers to work will also reduce recidivism, which means a safer and more productive Nevada. In other words, this really is a magic bullet that is all benefit and no cost—which is really just a reflection of how bad the existing laws are!
Too many people are denied their fundamental right to work because of Nevada’s onerous licensing laws. Governor Lombardo’s recent order will create jobs, raise wages, and ultimately reduce prices paid by Nevada consumers. It’s an outstanding reform that will be especially helpful now, as so many Nevadans are still suffering economically from the ineffective and job-destroying lockdowns imposed by the Sisolak administration.
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