What do small businesses worry about the most? I mean, besides serving their customers?
Regulation — licensing in particular.
At least when rating government, owners of small businesses surveyed by Thumbtack.com indicated that “licensing requirements were nearly twice as important as tax rates in determining their state or city government’s overall business-friendliness.”
Yes, taxes are a burden. But regulations and licensing can be amazingly arcane and costly in many communities. Their burdens often kick in before you’ve made a dime, and, despite that, they can sneak up on you, with the heavy weight of bureaucracy descending like the proverbial brick ton.
Thumbtack’s page allows you to see how your state rates. Idaho and Texas come out on top, and my state, Virginia, is surprisingly good. “Blue states” (horrible term: sorry) tend to come out much worse. California gets a big fat F, scoring abysmally low in most categories.
No surprise: The most politically unrepresentative state in the union over-regulates!
Distrust the survey? Just talk to the owner of a small business — you’ll likely get corroboration. Tim Sutinen, a businessman from southwest Washington State, noted in his campaign for state office a few years ago that there were only a handful of licensed occupations in the Evergreen State during the economic downturn in the early ’80s. Now, a few decades later, there’s over a thousand occupations you need a license to work in.
No wonder the recovery stalls.
That’s not progress.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.