Nevada’s business climate 14th in U.S., according to poll of professionals

Nevada ranked among the most small-business-friendly states in the United States in Thumbtack’s third annual survey.

Thumbtack.com is a marketplace for services, where people can log on to look for wedding photographers, caterers, contractors and other small-business professionals.

About 13,000 professionals who use the site from across the U.S. responded to online prompts and took the survey. Respondents graded their home cities and states on things such as the clarity of tax codes, the ease of business licensing and the amount of training and networking programs.

“Part of our mission is to advocate for small businesses,” said Jon Lieber, chief economist for Thumbtack. “We want to help them succeed.”

Lieber stressed that governments need to understand the wants and needs of small-business professionals.

“Creating a business climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, and hearing from small businesses directly can help policymakers better understand how to do that,” he said.

According to the study, Nevada placed 14th in the nation for supporting small businesses. This is the second year in a row that Nevada has finished among the top 15 states in the survey.

Small-business professionals in Nevada gave the state two A-plus grades — for ease of hiring new workers and for having a friendly tax code. They also gave the state an A grade for having environmental and zoning regulations that are friendly to small businesses.

Nevada received a B for overall friendliness and for ease of starting a business.

The state’s worst grade was a C for health and safety regulations.

Las Vegas ranked third in the nation for ease of filing taxes and 37th out of 82 cities Thumbtack rated. The city received almost the same marks as Nevada, except for a C grade for its training and networking programs.

Licensing and other rules can be tricky for new business owners, Lieber said.

“We have a lot of really small businesses that don’t really have a lot of time,” he said. “Pros really appreciate it when local governments assist with these things and streamline the process.

“It definitely shows room for improvement,” Lieber added.

He noted that this year’s results were fairly consistent with prior years. But there were still some odd results.

In the survey, Nevada was one of the few states where business owners who were men were more likely to give positive grades to the friendliness of state government than women, rating it 7 percent higher than their female counterparts.

Also, 64 percent of respondents in Las Vegas said they paid “the right share of taxes.”

Nationwide the survey seems to show that a tax code’s complexity and how easy it is to comply with is more important than the tax rate.

“Two-thirds didn’t think they paid too much,” Lieber said. “I was really surprised by it.”

Thumbtack partnered with the Kauffman Foundation to conduct the survey.

The top-rated cities overall were Colorado Springs, Colo.; Boise, Idaho; Austin, Texas; Louisville, Ky., and Houston. The top-rated states overall were Utah, Idaho, Texas, Virginia and Louisiana. The lowest-rated cities were Sacramento, Calif.; Providence, R.I.; Buffalo, N.Y., Bridgeport, Conn., and San Diego. The lowest-rated states were Rhode Island, Illinois, California, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Browse survey results at www.thumbtack.com/nv.

Contact Wesley Juhl at wjuhl at reviewjournal.com and 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter: @WesJuhl.

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