Small business council ranks S.C. No. 17 in business friendliness

Staff Report
Published Jan. 8, 2013

Although South Carolina slipped three places, it still ranks as one of the nation’s more entrepreneur-friendly states, according to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

South Carolina wound up No. 17 — flanked by Mississippi at No. 16 and Tennessee at No. 18 — on the council’s 18th annual index of states with the friendliest policies and lowest costs for small business, the council said.

Last year, the index listed the Palmetto State No. 14.

Of the 47 measures included in the 2013 edition of the council’s index, 22 relate to tax issues, 14 relate to regulations and five deal with government spending and debt issues, with the rest gauging the effectiveness of various important government undertakings.

Key positives for South Carolina included its fairly low individual capital gains tax, no inheritance tax, low consumption-based taxes, and low gasoline and diesel taxes.

Negatives included a 7% top-end rate for personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, and workers’ compensation employer costs, the trade group reported. Also affecting the state’s rating is its high crime rate, which landed South Carolina at the bottom of that category.

In electricity costs, South Carolina ranked No. 25. It was also ranked No. 25 in the number of state and local government employees per 100 residents.

South Carolina’s neighbors, Georgia and North Carolina, ranked No. 22 and No. 31, respectively.

The states that have the most entrepreneur-friendly policies are South Dakota, Nevada, Texas, Wyoming, and Florida.

States with the least friendly policy environments for small businesses are Hawaii, New York, Vermont, New Jersey, and California.

"Policy reforms that bolster small business start-up and growth are mostly being implemented at the state level,” said Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the council. “Unfortunately, federal policy and uncertainty remains an overall negative for entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

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