Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

How Friendly is Washington for Small Business?

Scotty and I were just talking about this yesterday on The PES. Is Washington friendly to small business? Caitlin the Carpetbagger claimed that "Washington is ahead of both Idaho and Oregon in its business climate."

So what's the truth? A good indication is entrepreneurship. Fortune Small Business just released the results of a nationwide study that examined how many people who started their own business per 100,000 residents of a state.

Washington comes out in the bottom tier. At 230 entrepreneurs per 100,000, Washington is tied with Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Only seven states have a worse ratio (Virginia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, Alabama, and Delaware).

By comparison, Idaho's ratio is 470 (among the top 10), Montana is 490 and Oregon is 330. Even California is at 320.

So what's wrong with Washington? Again, Scotty and I discussed this briefly yesterday. Possible reasons include an onerous B&O tax, restrictive L&I laws, restricive environmental laws, the lack of affordable housing (brought about by those restrictive environmental laws), and last but certainly not least, the highest minimum wage in the country.

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