Few bright spots for NJ in new small business survey
While there was some improvement for the Garden State in a new survey on small business friendliness, there are many factors working against business owners in our state.
The fourth annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey graded New Jersey at a 'C-' overall.
That puts New Jersey 29th out of 38 states that were surveyed.
"New Jersey was a little bit below average with a lot of room for improvement," said Jon Lieber, chief economist of Thumbtack.com.
The state received an 'F' for training and network programs, which Lieber said was a very important factor in developing a business-friendly environment.
Small business owners expressed frustration with New Jersey over many other vital criteria, including: ease of starting a business (D), tax code (D+), licensing (D+), and zoning (D+).
"I think the running theme in New Jersey is both the taxes are too high, and also, the regulatory environment is just too challenging," Lieber said. "It takes a lot of time to comply with rules, understand the rules, even knowing which rules you have to comply with takes time out of the busy day for these professionals."
It was not all negatives, though, for the Garden State. New Jersey received high marks for the ease of hiring (B).
"There's really a well-educated labor force," Lieber said. "There's people who are available to do jobs at the wages that these small businesses are willing to pay."
And actually, New Jersey performed better in this year's survey versus 2014, when it was ranked No. 34 with a 'D' overall grade.
"While there is definitely some improvement here, you're (New Jersey) still, kind of, towards the bottom of the pack," Lieber said.
Lieber believes the state would fare better by easing up some of the restrictions and amending the current licensing process and regulations.
Check out the full survey here.