TEN IDEAS: Repeal Unnecessary Barriers to Obtain Occupational Licenses

Each time there is a bad actor who causes harm, the government examines how to prevent it from happening the future. This is appropriate. But it’s inappropriate when industry insiders lobby the legislature or regulators to create barriers to entry that have only a pretextual connection to consumer protection. Oldest trick in the book. And it hurts middle-class Ohioans.

In the 1950s, 5% of jobs required a government license. Today, that number is 25%. And an unlicensed person earns 7% less in income than a person with a license.

Ohio is as bad as any other state. For instance, the regulations on hair salons contain 42,420 words. You literally need a lawyer to get it right. If you’re already in the business, it helps to have high barriers, because it reduces competition. But for someone who is seeking to exit a minimum-wage job, and seeking to find a real career, it is an impediment.

As with yesterday’s idea to remove barriers of entrepreneurship, this idea will have wide bipartisan support. President Obama has expressed his desire to roll back licensing regulations, for the very same reason: it hinders opportunity for upward mobility (see link). By eliminating unnecessary licenses, we can increase economic opportunities, promote healthy competition (i.e., good for consumers), and encourage innovation.

Senate Bill 255 is a great start. I’ll support it in next year’s General Assembly.


TEN IDEAS: Unleash Small Businesses to Raise Money

As you may be aware, I’m a business attorney. I help launch both small and mid-sized businesses.

Formally, a business is born when its articles are filed with the Secretary of State.

But that’s hardly enough.

A small business needs start-up funding. Funding for real estate (leased or owned). For equipment. For inventory. For employee wages. For legal compliance. The list goes on.

Most small-business owners are not independently wealthy. They don’t have $50,000 sitting around. When an entrepreneur tries to make it work, without adequate funding, the failure rates are very high.

. . .

Nowadays, people connect with each other online, through social media, predominately. Naturally, this is a source of potential investors, even at a level as low as $1,000.

Unfortunately, Ohio does not allow an entrepreneur to raise capital online (called “intrastate crowdfunding”). Only 14 states have such restrictive regulations. Here’s the upshot: Ohio forces a small business to hire an attorney like me (for upwards of $15,000-$20,000) to jump through legal hoops. That needs to end.

We need to open entrepreneurship to more people. I will advocate for loosening these restrictions, so that more Ohioans can achieve the American Dream.

By the way, this isn’t just a Republican idea. President Obama has advocated for crowdfunding, too. I will get a bipartisan coalition to fix this problem.

My knowledge of small business has earned me the endorsement of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

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