At the end of October, we noted that cities, towns, and villages across these 50 United States were preparing to go to the polls during the first week of November to vote for leaders who would (hopefully) lead them forward. Our first article was published on October 30th (http://yeahstub.com/list/five-best-states-for-fostering-business-growth) and offered a look at how the people of America rate their state or local government vis-à-vis some of the most important issues facing the U.S. 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 in this study was this question: “Would you discourage or encourage someone from starting a new business where you live?”
Here is a list of the five states voted LEAST friendly toward small business development and growth [Note: I chose not to publish this prior to Election Day in order to avoid the appearance of electioneering]:
RHODE ISLAND #50: It is hard to believe that a state so small that you sometimes miss it scanning a map of the east coast… somehow managed to be so inept at fostering business development that it beat out perennially mismanaged Illinois for this “bottom spot”! Rhode Island’s only big city, Providence, was ranked 80 out of 82 with regard to the question: “would you encourage others to start a business there?” Even worse, R.I. has managed to rank in the bottom five for the entire three years of the study!! GRADE: F
ILLINOIS #49: In the Land of Lincoln/Grant/Reagan/Obama, small busines ranks sixth from the top in its readiness for the single regulation that gives small businesses a nightmare: the Affordable Care Act (aka ACA; aka “ObamaCare”). In sharp contrast, when it comes to optimism about the local economy (or ever getting the Chicago murder rate under control) – Chicago comes in at the very bottom of the “Class”. It is ranked 82 out of 82 cities surveyed on that topic! Making matters worse, state leaders have so depleted the state’s financial resources that Illinois ranks dead last in fiscal health. Therefore taxes will always be heavy in Illinois. GRADE: F
CALIFORNIA #49: Not to be outdone by tiny, R.I., Governor Jerry Brown and his colleagues in California have ensured that this huge state earned the dubious honor of a “Bottom Five” rank on this survey for all three years! Adding to California’s growing fame as “Unfriendly”… Sacramento ranked 82 out of 82 cities on small business friendliness; San Diego sailed in at 78, Oxnard at 76, and Los Angeles at 74. It all goes to show how good California can be at “being bad”. GRADE: F
CONNECTICUT #47: It is fascinating that a state renowned for numerous corporate headquarters and the legal residence of countless corporate bigwigs is so downright awful at fostering new businesses! Bridgeport (the biggest city) was tagged with a grade of “F” – and is reputed to impose outsized regulatory burdens upon small businesses. GRADE: F
NEW JERSEY #46: In the big picture, the recent press hubbub over “Bridgegate” amounts to a hill of beans compared to the mountain of neglect in the state regarding the creation of new business! The state’s largest city, Newark, rated a “D” – near the bottom within the nation regarding small business growth. Worse, few businesses in Newark have reported higher earnings during the past 12 months, and business leaders there are quite pessimistic as they look toward the year ahead! GRADE: C-