Thursday, March 27, 2008

State Licensing in Louisiana for Florists

From Forbes

“Most people want to make sure their doctors and lawyers have the proper credentials to work, but should the same be expected of fortune tellers and florists?”

“Regulators in some states think so. If you want to read palms in Maryland or sell flower arrangements in Louisiana, you'll need a license to do it.”

Comment: So you want to go into business for yourself and you were thinking about opening up a small flower shop. You have always wanted to be a florist and you have a talent for it too. It’s your life long dream and you have finally saved up enough cash to make it happen. No more working for someone else. No more of having your work depend on the whims of someone else. No more of working hard for no recognition. You will be the master of your own destiny. It’s the American dream.

Well, if you live in the state of Louisiana, your dreams of being a florist will be dashed against the sharp rocks of state regulations. In the state of Louisiana, a person must be licensed to become a florist. Oh but the absurdity doesn’t just exist in Louisiana. There are all sorts of odd-ball occupations that require licenses in some states. In Maryland, you will need a license to become a “fortune teller.” In Michigan, a license is needed to be a “reptile catcher.” In Rhode Island, a Jai Alai player will need a license and in Arizona a license will be needed to be a “Rain maker.”

Since the talk of regulation and regulating has started to become ever so prominent in our country’s collective conversation as of late. We are reminded by the examples above of what state regulators can create: A bureaucracy that easily costs consumers more, and prevents entry into a given industry thereby insulating that industry from competition.

Is it really necessary to require florists to be licensed while those that have been in business before the regulation took affect are “grandfathered” into a license? Is that fair? And does the exam really need to be as difficult as the above article states it is? The trend in the U.S. over the last 25 years or so has been favorable to less regulatory red tape. Unfortunately, we may be seeing that change soon with the sort of regulatory licensing that states like Louisiana and others have enacted to “protect the public.”

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