as posted here:
The Christie administration says it’s trying to make the state more comfortable for small business, but a survey released earlier this month shows just how tough a task that is.
The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council’s 15th annual Small Business Survival Index, released Dec. 9, showed the Garden State as last among the 50 states. Only the District of Columbia was rated worse.
“The bottom line is politicians love to talk about how much they support small business, this index is seeing whether that rhetoric matches the actual policies and regulations being put into place,” said Raymond Keating, chief economist for the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.
Erin Gold, public affairs officer for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, acknowledged that the state has work to do, but was optimistic about the future of New Jersey’s small businesses.
“I think we’ll see a lot of change in the new year,” she said. “With the Christie administration coming in, there’s a big focus on small business.”
Gold said following his Partnership for Action plan, Christie plans to relax rules on taxes, regulations and lending for small businesses
The plan includes initiatives like the Business Action Center which gives small business owners access to resources – loan, regulation and permit information – that would normally be out of reach, she said.
The study’s rankings were based on factors including taxes, various regulatory and energy costs, government spending, property rights and health care policies.
The top five states – South Dakota, Nevada, Texas, Wyoming and Washington – all have no personal income, individual capital gains, corporate income, corporate capital gains and death taxes in common.
Keating said positive factors like New Jersey’s low crime rate, gas and diesel taxes were “overwhelmed” by negatives like having the second highest property taxes in the country.
Laurie Ehlbeck, National Federation of Independent Business director for New Jersey, said most small business owners are too deeply rooted in the state to leave, but the ranking does leave a bad impression for others considering settling in the state.
“It’s not something they (small business owners) look at when they’re think of leaving the state, but it does reflect an extremely high tax structure that may discourage other larger business owners from relocating to New Jersey,” she said. “The truth is a lot of businesses are closing their doors because they cannot afford to stay.”
Ehlbeck said there is little optimism that change will come anytime soon.
“I think everyone was hoping that things would get better, but we’re in the midst of a national recession, so any improvement is going to be slow,” she said.