How Do You Rate?

By Robert J. Wagman & William C. Gillis

How does where you do business compare to other parts of the country? It depends on whom you ask.

The sixth annual ‘Small Business Survival Index 2001,’ compiled by the Washington, D.C.-based Small Business Survival Committee (SBSC), ranks each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia for policy climates for small business and entrepreneurship.

Local newspapers across the country reported the index, either sadly lamenting, or proudly proclaiming, their state’s ranking. But the criteria used by the SBSC mainly reflect what party has control of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion.

According to the study’s author, Raymond J. Keating, the best policy environment for entrepreneurship consists of low taxes, limited government, and restrained regulation. ‘States following such a governing philosophy,’ Keating says, ‘will reap great rewards from America’s entrepreneurs.’

Compare the SBSC rankings with ‘The Metropolitan New Economy Index,’ a joint project of the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) and the Center for Regional Economic Issues at Case Western Reserve University. The index, published in April, ranks the top 50 U.S. metro areas based on five issues: ‘knowledge’ jobs, globalization, economic dynamism, the transformation to a digital economy, and technological innovation.

The differences in the lists are striking. Washington, D.C., which ranked dead last on the SBSC list, comes in at an impressive #6 on the New Economy list. What place is truly best for small business? Your perspective depends on where you stand.

The 2001 Small Business Survival Index Rankings

1 Nevada
2 South Dakota
3 Washington
4 Wyoming
5 Florida
6 Texas
7 New Hampshire
8 Alabama
9 Mississippi
10 Tennessee

42 Vermont
43 New York
44 California
45 New Mexico
46 Minnesota
47 Kansas
48 Maine
49 Hawaii
50 Rhode Island
51 District of Columbia

The Metropolitan New Economy Index

1 San Francisco
2 Austin, Tex.
3 Seattle
4 Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
5 San Diego
6 Washington, D.C.
7 Denver
8 Boston
9 Salt Lake City, Utah
10 Minneapolis

41 West Palm Beach, Fla.
42 Dayton, Ohio
43 Tampa, Fla.
44 Norfolk, Va.
45 Greensboro, N.C.
46 Louisville, Ky.
47 Memphis, Tenn.
48 Jacksonville, Fla.
49 San Antonio, Tex.
50 Grand Rapids, Mich.

‘It hasn’t yet been proven that broadband is an essential service.’ Cynthia Brumfield, president of Broadband Intelligence Inc., on the once-hot, now ice-cold, high-speed Internet market. The drop in DSL and cable sales has been blamed on the weak economy, high monthly fees, and the fact that most technology-savvy consumers already have broadband service.
– The Washington Post

‘We expect our agencies to be ridding themselves of the vampires and using energy conservation devices.’ President George W. Bush, on a new initiative to make federal agencies more energy efficient. Bush described ‘vampires’ as energy-wasters such as battery chargers, cell-phone chargers, and computer systems.

‘There are going to be a lot more companies failing.’ Greg Roston, deputy director of the Institute for Economic Policy Research at Stanford University, on the future facing many technology companies. Roston predicts that many more tech companies will close their doors by the end of the year as their cash reserves dwindle.
– Reuters


66 percent of U.S. workers have access to the Internet at their workplace, and 67 percent believe that Internet access increases productivity. 64 percent of those surveyed use the Internet at work for personal reasons, up from 49 percent in 2000.
– Xylo, Inc.

Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing addresses the technology needs of small businesses, which are defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees and/or less than $7 million in annual sales.
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