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How unfriendly to small business can Oregon get?

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

The Small Business Survival Committee just released its 2003 Small Business Survival Index, which ranks states according to how friendly their policies are for small business and entrepreneurship. Oregon falls close to the bottom; only eight states and the District of Columbia are worse.

A $38 billion deficit helped sink California four states below us. Along the Pacific Coast, Washington is considered much more small business-friendly: it ranked near the top at number 8.

The index analyzes 21 government-imposed or government-related costs that affect small businesses and entrepreneurs. These include taxes, regulations, health care costs, and state minimum wage laws.

The index author writes, “The best environment for entrepreneurship consists of low taxes, limited government, restrained regulation, and government protecting life, limb and property. States following such a governing philosophy will reap great rewards from America’s entrepreneurs, including faster economic growth and increased job creation.”

Gov. Kulongoski recently told members of the state’s largest business association what he thought was good for business. He said, in reference to an on-going citizen’s petition drive to repeal the legislature’s $800 million tax increase, “Anyone who thinks this will provide certainty for your business, you can see me after the speech. I think you’re in need of a reality check.”

Oregon is highly dependent on small business economic activity. Thus, given the state’s unfriendly ranking, perhaps it’s the governor and tax-and-regulate politicians who need a reality check.

Steve Buckstein is senior policy analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland, Oregon based think tank.

© 2006, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.

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