State of the Week: WYOMING – A Big Energy Producer with an Impressive Environment for Entrepreneurs

By at 7 October, 2017, 6:41 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

Small Business Policy Index 2017: Wyoming ranked 4th best among the 50 states.

SBE Council’s “Small Business Policy Index 2017” ranks the 50 states according to 55 different policy measures, including a wide array of tax, regulatory and government spending and performance measurements.

Small Business Tax Index 2017: Wyoming ranked 4th best among the 50 states.

SBE Council’s “Small Business Tax Index 2017” ranks the states according to 26 different tax measures. Among the taxes included are income, capital gains, property, death, unemployment, and various consumption-based taxes, including state gas and diesel levies.

What’s the best thing about Wyoming, also known as the Cowboy State? There’s a lot to love about this grand state.

High on the list is Yellowstone National Park.  As described by

“Yellowstone National Park’s 2 million acres are home to an incomparable combination of natural beauty, rugged wilderness, majestic peaks and abundant wildlife, as well as the world’s largest concentration of geysers and thermal features. The iconic spots—Old Faithful, Lower Falls and Yellowstone Lake—may be familiar from paintings and photographs, but seeing them in person is a humbling, enthralling experience that visitors can enjoy year-round.” And to the south of Yellowstone, there’s the Grand Teton National Park.

As for the economy, Wyoming is a big energy producing state. It is, by far, the largest coal producing state in the United States, while also being the fourth largest natural gas producer and number eight in crude oil production. So, in terms of total energy production, it ranks number two among the 50 states.

And if you’re a snow person (which I definitely am not), well, it was reported that a foot of snow fell in parts of Wyoming on October 2, 2017.

But perhaps best of all is Wyoming’s public policy environment for entrepreneurship, small business and investment. As noted above, Wyoming ranks fourth best among the 50 states on both the “Small Business Policy Index 2017” and the “Small Business Tax Index 2017.”

Among Wyoming’s big positives, the state imposes no personal, individual capital gains, corporate income, corporate capital gains and death taxes. Also, Wyoming has a fairly light energy regulatory burden, the lowest state and local government debt burden, and a fairly low crime rate, along with no added minimum wage mandate. In addition, Wyoming is a right-to-work state.

Sure, there are some negatives, such as high property and high unemployment taxes, along with the highest level of state and local government employment and a very high level of state and local government spending.

While those costs clearly need to be reined in, Wyoming still possess an enormous competitive advantage over most other states when it comes to public policies impacting entrepreneurship and the economy.

Oh, and one more thing. The state speed limit on some 500 miles of rural highway is 80 miles per hour in Wyoming. That’s also pretty cool.


Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Keating’s latest book published by SBE Council is titled Unleashing Small Business Through IP:  The Role of Intellectual Property in Driving Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Investment and it is available free on SBE Council’s website here.

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