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Nevada highest in entrepreneur-friendly ranking

Jim Scripps

Nevada is at the top of an index measuring state policies that promote entrepreneurship, a national small business lobbying group reports.

For six years, the Washington D.C.-based Small Business Survival Committee has compiled tax, labor and cost information into the Small Business Survival index. All 50 states and the District of Columbia are ranked according to their policy climates toward small business.

Nevada’s position at the top spot is good news for one Northern Nevada business recruiter who said he will use the index to entice out-of-state companies to the capital region.

“There are so many surveys, and of course we play off the ones that make us look good,” said Kris Holt, executive director of the Northern Nevada Development Authority. “If you look at our type of client, it is mostly family oriented, small firms with 10-15 employees. The individual pioneering type companies.”

In the rankings, Nevada was trailed by South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming and Florida in the top five spots. The five worst rankings were earned by Kansas, Maine, Hawaii, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

According to SBSC chief economist Raymond J. Keating, the index “offers a gauge by which to measure and compare how government in the states treat small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“The best policy environment for entrepreneurship consists of low taxes, limited government, restrained regulation, and government protecting life, limb and property.”

Nevada’s reputation as a tax haven – free of state imposed personal income tax – was one of the big factors in the state’s high position and strong index ranking.

“That really is one of the biggest things for small business,” said SBSC president Darrell McKigney. “Often business income and personal income are one in the same.”

The following 17 factors are included in the index:

– personal income tax

– capital gains tax

– corporate income tax

– property tax

– sales tax

– death tax

– unemployment tax

– health insurance tax

– electricity costs

– worker’s compensation costs

– crime rates

– right to work status

– number of bureaucrats

– tax limitation status

– Internet tax

– gas tax

– minimum wage

Holt, who is paid by local county governments and the development authority’s membership to recruit new business to the region, said Nevada’s benefits are the strongest selling point to potential new companies.

“It makes us look good,” he said. “The Nevada climate is unique because our incentives are built in.”

Holt said businesses interested in relocating often cite the factors in the index. “They all have the same issues, but in different priorities depending on what they produce.”