Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ohio Climbs in National Rankings
Of Best Places for Small Business

Fortune Small Business magazine reports that Ohio is neither among the ten best nor ten worst states in which to operate a small business, at least according to something called the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. The state did, however, move up considerably, from 38th place last year to the 29th spot, after the legislature passed a bill lowering state taxes. I think the rankings are more than a little suspect, however, because they've historically only used relative tax levels and regulatory burdens as the sole criteria on which to rank states. While only a fool would argue that those issues aren't crucial to anyone operating their own business, I would suggest that only a fool (or a doctrinaire right winger) would argue that other, less tangible factors aren't also important.

To the group's credit, it has just added one other important factor to the mix of criteria it now uses: transportation infrastructure. If they add another half dozen of these kinds of things, the rankings might actually begin to have some real merit (you can get a pretty good fix on the group's politics by noting a couple of links on its homepage: the fact that it trumpets an appearance on the Fox business channel and its participation in the hard-right site Town Hall). Good for FSB to rap the group on the knuckles for not including such criticical elements as educational levels and access to venture capital. I don't understand how anyone could leave off the former. And I'm more than a little biased about the latter (access to venture capital) after having written this report on the state of venture capital in Northeast Ohio earlier last year.


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