Small Businesses Rate Utah, Idaho as Friendliest States

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2014-06-20 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Small Businesses Rate Utah, Idaho as Friendliest States
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    Small Businesses Rate Utah, Idaho as Friendliest States

    By Nathan Eddy
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    Rhode Island, Nation's Smallest State, Ranks Lowest
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    Rhode Island, Nation's Smallest State, Ranks Lowest

    The Ocean State received an "F" rating in the survey, putting it at the bottom of the pile. The state's capital, Providence, also ranked among the worst-performing cities, as rated by their small-business owners. The state scored low in employment, labor and hiring, and its best grade was a lowly "C-," for training and networking programs.
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    California Also Scores Low
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    California Also Scores Low

    California, the nation's most populous state, which contains more people than the 21 least-populous states combined, also gave California an "F," and its capital city, Sacramento, placed at the bottom of the cities list, along with Buffalo, N.Y. Illinois also received an "F," while Connecticut and New Jersey both earned a "D."
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    Texas, Utah and Idaho Take the Top Spots
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    Texas, Utah and Idaho Take the Top Spots

    Small businesses in Texas, Utah and Idaho have rated their states in the top five every year the survey has run. The Lone Star state received high marks for zoning ("A+"), and its worst mark, for training and networking programs, still got an "A." Utah was ranked first in overall friendliness, while Idaho's best score was for employment, labor and hiring.
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    Small Businesses Want Training Help
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    Small Businesses Want Training Help

    Awareness of training programs raised overall scores by 10 percent, while 76 percent of those who said they were aware of government-sponsored training programs for business owners ranked their local government as "somewhat" or "very supportive." Yet only 8 percent of these said local government was unsupportive. Oklahoma, Maryland, Minnesota, and Idaho all received an "A+" for their training programs.
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    Taxes, Professional Licensing Ease Rank as Most Important
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    Taxes, Professional Licensing Ease Rank as Most Important

    The friendliness of professional licensing requirements was the most important regulatory issue in determining a state's overall friendliness to small businesses, according to the report. The ease of filing taxes closely followed licensing requirements as an important issue for small-business owners.
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    Tax Rates Have Minor Impact on Friendliness Ranking
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    Tax Rates Have Minor Impact on Friendliness Ranking

    Tax rates were a less important factor than the ease of regulatory compliance in determining the overall friendliness score of a jurisdiction, a trend that the survey has indicated for years. Two-thirds of respondents said they paid their "fair share" of taxes—that is, they felt like they were neither underpaying nor overpaying. Nevada, Texas and Utah received top marks for the friendliness of their tax codes.
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    Houston, Colorado Springs Considered Friendliest Cities
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    Houston, Colorado Springs Considered Friendliest Cities

    Small-business owners in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Boise, Idaho and Houston gave their cities the highest ratings for overall small-business friendliness on a citywide basis. Other Texas cities scored exemplary marks, including Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth.
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    Health & Safety Category Puts West Coast at the Bottom
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    Health & Safety Category Puts West Coast at the Bottom

    With regard to health and safety regulations, the West Coast states were all grouped together at the bottom of the pile, while Texas, Virginia, South Carolina and Idaho all received an "A+" in this category. Connecticut and Rhode Island both failed in terms of health and safety.
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    Midwest States Score High in Environmental Regulations
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    Midwest States Score High in Environmental Regulations

    Many of the coastal states also received poor marks for the friendliness of local- and state-level friendliness when it comes to environmental regulations. Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Louisiana scored a solid "A" in this category, while Massachusetts received its lowest grade for environmental regulation friendliness.
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    New Hampshire an Easy Place to Start a Business
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    New Hampshire an Easy Place to Start a Business

    The small, rural New England state of New Hampshire received its highest mark for ease of starting a business, far ahead of its neighbors. Michigan, Florida, California and Illinois received poor marks in this category, with no state scoring higher than a "D." Other stand-out states for starting a small business were Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma, Iowa and Texas.
 

Owning and operating a successful small business is difficult enough, and entrepreneurs with a great idea and a lot of ambition require cooperation, if not outright assistance, from state and local agencies to turn their concepts into profitable reality. That fact is what makes Thumbtack's survey of small-business friendliness, state-by-state and city-by-city, so insightful. More than 12,000 entrepreneurs nationwide participated in this year's survey, which ranked 82 cities and most states on what makes a positive environment for small businesses. Overall, the smallest state (Rhode Island) and the third-largest state (California) earned abysmal marks, while Idaho and Utah ranked the highest. "Creating a business climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, but rarely does anyone ask small-business owners themselves about what makes for a pro-entrepreneur environment," Jon Lieber, chief economist of Thumbtack, wrote in the report. Results indicated the keys to a pro-growth environment are ease of compliance with tax and regulatory systems and helpful training programs.  Here are key takeaways from the study.

 
 
 
 
 
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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