As cities, towns, and villages across these 50 United States prepare to go to the polls on Tuesday, November 4, to exercise their democratic privilege (and responsibility) to vote, I thought it might be helpful to take a look at how the people of America rate their state or local government vis-à-vis some of the most important issues facing us today.
As we know, the single most consistent theme across the U.S. during the past 6 years has been a singular (and desperate) cry for more jobs to help spur a stronger economy. We also know that, although large corporations garner the publicity about jobs, small business is the source of the greatest number of new jobs in our nation. So let’s take a good look at the results from a study published last June regarding the collective opinion (wisdom) of over 12,600 small business owners regarding which areas have established an environment that is supportive of small businesses and small business creation.
It shouldn’t be surprising that one of the budding social network sites, Thumbtack.com, is the publisher (and joint partner of the study, since more and more important information and data is surfacing from the midst of the social network space. The name of the report is the Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey (third annual) and offered a summary of research completed in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
It might surprise you that the most highly ranked concern about those surveyed was not taxes, but rather the degree to which state and local regulatory policies make professional licensing and basic compliance in the start-up process easier or harder. (Most of those polled considered what they paid in taxes as relatively “fair”.)
Typical of the queries responded to be those surveyed was this question: “Would you discourage or encourage someone from starting a new business where you live?”
UTAH #1: This state received an extraordinary number of “kudos”. Those polled who are based in Salt Lake City expressed a high degree of bullish sentiment about the metropolitan area of Salt Lake City. And that city has the second highest percentage of PhD holding businessmen among the cities observed. Grade: A+
IDAHO #2: Wow! This state has been a three-for-three “Top Five” winner during the life of this annual poll! A major reason for the high rating is this fact — start-ups are twice as common in Boise as they are across the country. That makes it unsurprising that 23% of all Idaho small businesses had been operating for less than one year! The Idaho capital and the state’s largest metro area rank first across the nation vis-à-vis the “ease of small business start-ups”. Grade: A+
TEXAS #3: In some ways the “Eyes of other States are on Texas”… because it continues to be a leader in creation of new businesses! This year is the third in a row that Texas has ranked in the “Top Five” list for business friendliness.
More impressively, five Texas cities rank among the top 10 cities in the U.S. for being business friendly: Houston (No. 3), Austin (No. 4), Dallas (No. 6), Fort Worth (No. 7) and San Antonio (No. 8). Grade: A+
VIRGINIA #4: Those polled gave the capital of Virginia, Richmond, an A+ for “ease of starting a business” – and it especially excelled in user-friendly licensing and reasonable environmental regulations. All of that and more netted Richmond a national rank of sixth (6) among all U.S. cities rated! Obviously, Richmond is just one example in the state of a focus on fostering business development! Grade: A
LOUISIANA #5: Things are looking up in the “Bayou” state! New Orleans rose in the city rankings from a C- to a B+, and earned an A+ vis-à-vis environmental regulations and the ease of hiring new employees. Business owners are appreciative, according to Thumbtack’s chief economist, John Lieber: “Small business owners appreciate how friendly the regulations in New Orleans are towards them.” Grade: A-