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Nevada State Bank survey

Owners of small businesses in Nevada are more optimistic about the local economy than the national economy, according to results of a survey by Nevada State Bank.

The bank's recent survey of more than 400 small business owners, operators and managers throughout the state found that 47.6 percent of them believe the local economy is headed in the right direction.

Nevada small business owners are less optimistic about the state of the national economy, with only 35.5 percent believing the national economy is on the right track and 57.8 percent of those surveyed believing the national economy was headed in the wrong direction.

The survey found that 81.1 percent of respondents were concerned about business taxes, 72.3 percent were concerned about laws and regulations, and 60.6 percent about the cost of goods and services.

"Small businesses are driving our gradually recovering local economy. We wanted to learn what Nevada small business owners think about the economy, about banking and other issues that are important to them," said Dallas Haun, CEO and president of Nevada State Bank. "We continue to hear on a national level about how small businesses are faring, but to effectively serve our clients here in Nevada, we needed to hear from them about these important issues."

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Though business taxes were among their biggest concerns, only one in three respondents was familiar with IP1, the Initiative Petition 1, also known as Nevada Business Margin Tax Initiative. Once informed, however, an overwhelming 74.7 percent said they oppose this November 2014 ballot initiative to raise business taxes to increase public education funding in Nevada.

About 80 percent of those surveyed said it has been somewhat to very difficult for them to obtain financing for their small business.

The survey also showed that 86.9 percent of respondents find the relationship with their banker to be important and that 50.4 percent want their banker to help them develop and execute their business plans.

Nevada State Bank, working with Las Vegas-based research firm Applied Analysis, surveyed businesses throughout the state that generate annual revenues between $500,000 and $1.5 million.

Nevada State Bank will distribute a publication highlighting the results of its survey at the Jan. 24 Preview Las Vegas event and at the Jan. 30 Directions 2014 event in Reno. The results are also available online at http://www.nevadasmallbusiness.com.

Nevada freight assessment

A new Nevada Department of Transportation freight assessment will pave the way for future freight and transportation enhancements to support Nevada's economy.

The freight assessment report, completed in December, evaluates key Nevada economic indicators and the state's approximately 110 million tons of annual truck, rail, air and pipeline freight commerce to identify areas for potential future growth and development.

"It's the first step in identifying where and what quantity of freight and goods are being transported statewide, how they are projected to be moved in the future and how that commerce ties in with current and future Nevada infrastructure and economic indicators," NDOT Freight Program Coordinator Bill Thompson explained. "That snapshot then serves as the building block for the next step, which is creating the Nevada Freight Plan. That plan will define future freight improvements to help keep Nevada's economy moving forward."

The Nevada Freight Plan, which will begin development this year, will detail potential projects to reduce freight bottlenecks and enhance Nevada commerce, such as new truck climbing lanes, roadside electronic signs displaying the amount of truck parking available and other freight corridor improvements. The plan could potentially make way for federal funding for such projects.

Numerous state-sponsored freight improvements have already been put in place, from a new NDOT truck parking facility in Fernley to online truck parking maps.

"The transportation system is how goods and services get to each of us in Nevada; it is the lifeblood of our economic vitality," NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon said. "We at NDOT continue to focus on building the mobility and safety of our state transportation system to support Nevadans and the Nevada economy."

You can find the Nevada freight assessment report by clicking the truck icon on the center right of the nevadadot.com homepage. Those interested in participating in the freight plan can contact (775) 888-735

Top online graduate programs

The University of Nevada, Reno's College of Business and the College of Education received recognition this week from U.S. News & World Report as offering some of the top online graduate programs in the country. The top 100 schools were ranked by the publication.

The College of Business's online graduate program, offered in partnership with Extended Studies, was ranked No. 75 in the "Best Online Graduate Business Programs" category. The College of Education's online graduate program, also offered in partnership with Extended Studies, was ranked No. 36 in the "Best Online Graduate Education Programs" category, up from last year's ranking of 52. These programs include the Master of Science in Equity and Diversity in Education and Master of Education in Literacy Studies.

In each of these categories, about 1,000 regionally accredited institutions were sent statistical questionnaires, and certain other conditions and definitions had to be met to be included in the final ranking. In both categories, criteria used to determine the final ranking included student engagement, student services and technology, faculty credentials and training, and peer reputation. Both the University's Executive MBA and Education Master's programs received particularly high marks for faculty credentialing and training, which is defined as how well the schools prepare teachers to teach remotely, ranking 78 and 77, out of 100, in this category, respectively.  

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