Are Politicians Really Behind Small Business?

At a time in which entrepreneurship is on the decline, you might ask yourself, are politicians doing all they can to foster a stronger small business climate?  Well, according to a Small Business Friendliness Survey, Ohio politicians are doing a satisfactory job of that- for the most part.  Based on 2016 survey results, Ohio received a B in “overall friendliness” which places us 13th in the U.S.  This is a vast improvement from 2012 when Ohio received a D+ in that category.  Much of the improvement can be attributed to Gov. Kasich’s pro-business agenda which included significant regulatory reform and small business tax cuts.  This is the fifth year of the study, which was designed to monitor whether “governments actually match their actions with their small business-friendly rhetoric.”

Whether it is a local, state or federal office in which they are running, many politicians campaign with a platform touting their passion for small business growth.  However, in many cases, these same individuals do not know what types of policies that small business owners need.  Politicians often take actions such as establishing regulations that they think may help and protect small businesses, but can actually affect hiring.  Most of us know that factors such as taxes and regulations can either attract or deter businesses from opening their doors in a particular state.  For instance, survey respondents (which identifies as “skilled professionals”) rated Ohio only a B- in the area of regulations.  This was one of metrics in which Ohio scored the lowest.

Attracting and retaining businesses has become extremely competitive between states.  In recent years, Ohio has seen a significant increase in job growth even amidst tax rates that are slightly above the median when compared to other states.  So, this must indicate that other good things are taking place throughout the state.  As previously mentioned, in general, politicians seem to be doing a fine job of figuring out how to improve the small business climate.  Amongst the highest rated metrics were licensing requirements and compliance, zoning and government websites.  However, the highest rated metric for Ohio was training opportunities in which the state received it’s only A.  The question that was asked of survey participants was, “Does your state or local government offer helpful training or networking programs for small business owners?”

If you are a small business owner in Ohio, it appears that for the time being you can rest assured that your elected officials are living up to their small business-friendly rhetoric.  While you can hope for continued improvements to the state’s tax structure and the regulatory environment, you are indeed experiencing numerous advantages over many other states.  Your small business counterparts in Connecticut, Illinois and California (the lowest ranked states) are certainly envious of you.  Finally, the Ohio Small Business Council (OSBC) has contributed to the efforts that have improved Ohio’s ease of starting and sustaining a business.  For anyone interested in becoming involved with small business advocacy efforts, please contact Brandon Ogden, Director of the Ohio Small Business Council.