State Spotlight: Utah Quietly One of the Best States for Small Business

By at 7 October, 2019, 7:42 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

Small Business Policy Index 2019: Utah ranked 7th best among the 50 states.

SBE Council’s “Small Business Policy Index 2019” ranks the 50 states according to 62 different policy measures, including a wide array of tax, regulatory and government spending and performance measurements.

 Small Business Tax Index 2019: Utah ranked 16th among the 50 states.

SBE Council’s “Small Business Tax Index 2019” is a subset of the Small Business Policy Index 2019 report, ranking the states according to a wide array of tax measures, including income, capital gains, property, death, unemployment, and various consumption-based taxes like state gas and diesel levies.

Utah offers one of the best climates for entrepreneurship and small business. But it seems to have managed this achievement in rather quiet fashion. It’s time to get loud about Utah and small business.

SBE Council’s “Small Business Policy Index 2019: Ranking the States on Policy Measures and Costs Impacting Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth” ranks the 50 states according to 62 different policy measures, including assorted tax, regulatory and government spending measures. Utah ranked seventh best among the 50 states. The state also earned the 16th spot on the “Small Business Tax Index 2019,” which is a subset of the larger Small Business Policy Index, whereby the states are ranked on tax measures only.

What makes Utah a good state for small business?

Well, first, the state has few big negatives in terms of policymaking, though one being high unemployment taxes. Second, there are an assortment of positives in the mix, such as relatively low corporate income and capital gains taxes; fairly low workers’ compensation costs; a generally low levels of state and local government employment, spending and debt; and no death tax. Utah also is a right-to-work state.

For good measure, the state took some recent positive steps by reducing its personal income, individual capital gains, corporate income and corporate capital gains tax rates from 5 percent to 4.95 percent.

The state’s economy certainly has benefited. For example, over the past year, Utah had the second fastest employment growth rate among the states.

As for Utah’s economic growth, real state GDP grew at 4.3 percent in 2018 – second quickest pace among the states – and at annualized real rate of 4.2 percent in the first quarter of this year – fourth fastest among the 50 states. And in each of the last six years, economic growth in Utah ran ahead of national growth.

Utah offers a solid policy environment for entrepreneurship and small business, and that, in turn, has been good for the state’s overall economy. No one should be quiet about spreading this very positive news.

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

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