Massachusetts Ranks High in Chamber of Commerce Survey; Still Has a Way to Go in Developing Business-Friendly Climate

The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently released its 2013 Enterprising States and Cities report. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Massachusetts ranked high in the Talent Pipeline and Innovation & Entrepreneurship categories, first and fifth respectively. Massachusetts obviously continues to put out well-education and highly successful students from its numerous world-class colleges and universities, and continues to grow as a hub of entrepreneurial activity.

However, the report also highlights that Massachusetts still has a long way to go in creating an environment conducive to launching a business. The state only ranks 42nd in the Business Climate category; Massachusetts barely makes it out of the bottom half of the country in any of the metrics in the category — 22nd in business tax climate, 23rd in small business lending, 30th in legal environment, 38th in business policy, 42nd in the cost of living, and 43rd in state and local tax burden.

While it is obviously not practical to improve the business climate by, for example, reducing taxes, the state can certainly create a legal and regulatory regime more conducive to business formation, in particular for the startups being created by the numerous talented graduates coming from Massachusetts schools. To that end, Governor Patrick recently approved changes to nearly 150 regulations in order to decrease the burden on small businesses.

But Massachusetts can do more to improve the climate for startups and small businesses, not only by improving the regulatory regime, or reducing the cost of living, or bettering the state’s infrastructure (both physical and electronic), but by also becoming an advocate for startups and small businesses on the national policy stage — for example, by advocating for securities reforms that will ease access to capital for startups and small businesses, or for programs that help with or reduce financial burdens for college graduates and allow them to focus on starting businesses.

While Massachusetts is certainly a better place for startups and small businesses than it was, say, ten years ago, the Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s report shows that Massachusetts still can do more to become a place where startups and small businesses want to take root and grow.

Full report can be read here: http://foundation.uschamber.com/PDF/ES2013.pdf

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