Guest Commentary: Saluting Our Local Small Businesses 2014
Senator Richard T. Moore (D-Uxbridge MA)
By Senator Richard T. Moore
Massachusetts has become one of the top states in which to do business. From the passage of economic development reorganization legislation, utility performance and energy reform, and health care cost containment legislation, the Massachusetts Senate has contributed to enhancing the Commonwealth's position as a leader in locally driven business development strategies. In recognition of these efforts, and in celebration of the Commonwealth's more than 585,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs, Massachusetts observed National Small Business Week May 12-16, 2014.
Started by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, National Small Business Week is an annual celebration that recognizes the important contributions of our nation's nearly 27 million entrepreneurs and small businesses to our economy. During the week, I will visit local small businesses in the Worcester & Norfolk senatorial district to learn more about their work and to listen to their aspirations and their concerns in an effort to continue providing leadership in the Senate to improve our state's business climate and the creation of more job opportunities for everyone.
As we celebrated National Small Business Week in Massachusetts this year, it was important to note that there are several studies by national, non-partisan research organizations indicating that our state is generally a good place for small business. Nevertheless, our rankings could still be improved by reducing the many obstacles to starting a new business in the state.
Massachusetts is ranked in the middle of all the States when it comes to measuring the business climate. The Commonwealth ranks 25th in the Tax Foundation's 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index. The Index compares the states in five areas of taxation that impact business: corporate taxes; individual income taxes; sales taxes; unemployment insurance taxes; and taxes on property, including residential and commercial property. The ranks of neighboring states are as follows: Rhode Island, 46th; Connecticut, 42nd; New York, 50th; New Hampshire, 8th; and Vermont, 45th. (The higher the number, the less business-friendly the state.)
Another survey, specifically aimed at small business, placed us in the same general ranking, but said we have improved for small business. Thumbtack.com, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has released the new results from the second annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Survey. The 2013 study draws upon data from over 7,000 small business owners nationwide and shows that Massachusetts improved its overall grade slightly, rising from a "D" in 2012 to a "C-" in this year's study.
Some of the key findings for Massachusetts include:
- Massachusetts moved up the rankings in almost every category, although it still received a "C-" for the business-friendliness of its regulatory systems.
- The state earned a "B" grade for its small business training and networking programs and also ranked among the easiest states for obtaining and keeping health insurance.
The BHI competitiveness index, released on April 10, 2014, is based on a set of 46 indicators that make up eight categories of measurement including: government and fiscal policy; security; infrastructure; human resources; technology; business incubation; openness; and environmental policy.
The businesses I have chosen to spotlight this year during National Small Business Week include: Family Pharmacy of Milford; Antron Engineering & Machine, Professional Machine, Inc., and Cornerstone Family Chiropractic of Bellingham; AO Eyewear of Southbridge; and, Kretschmann Brewing Company of Webster. In addition, I made my annual report on activities on Beacon Hill to the Bellingham Business Association on Wednesday evening, May 14th at the New England Country Club.
While visiting businesses during Small Business week provides a special opportunity to salute all small businesses in our region, these visits are actually a routine part of my ongoing effort to promote local jobs and economic development. In recent months, I have had the pleasure of visiting such local businesses as IPG Photonics in Oxford, Lampin Corp. in Uxbridge, Savers Bank in Southbridge, New England Disposal Technologies in Sutton, Eastern Acoustic Works in Whitinsville, and Blaire House in Milford. I also participated in a Manufacturing Roundtable at Blackstone Valley Tech, as well the Blackstone Valley Chamber Expo, the Webster-Dudley-Oxford Chamber Expo, and the Milford Area Chamber of Commerce Expo.
For me, celebrating and assisting small business is not limited to one week a year, but has always been a year round effort to promote jobs and the economic prosperity of our region.
Sen. Richard T. Moore, D-Uxbridge, is the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Massachusetts Senate. He is also the Senate Chairman of the Legislature's new Manufacturing Caucus; he represents fourteen towns in South Central Massachusetts. For more information about him, visit www.senatormoore.com, or follow him on Facebook (www.facebook.com/senatormoore) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/SenDickMoore)