Arizona scored better than average, but not good enough to make the press release.
And that isn’t good enough.
The press release, issued April 27 by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, announced the annual ranking of how friendly states are toward small businesses and entrepreneurs based on their taxes.
Arizona ranked 17th in the country — the same as it did last year and the year before.
Like the children of Lake Wobegon, we’re still above average.
South Dakota was No. 1 with Texas close behind. Two of our neighbors, Nevada and Colorado, were also in the top 10.
Only the top 10 and bottom were listed in the press release, so I turned to the full 15-page report to find Arizona.
There are a lot of lists floating around and I usually don’t pay too much attention to them, but this one got my attention for a number of reasons.
Last Friday I attended the dedication of Innovations Chandler, the city’s $5.7 million facility near Stellar Airport. The facility, called an incubator, offers space for small and start-up bio-tech and high-tech companies.
At the dedication, Mayor Boyd Dunn said in the past the city’s focus along the Price Road corridor had been on large companies. Intel and Orbital Sciences come to mind. With the Innovations project, the city is trying to add smaller entrepreneurial start-ups to the mix.
That’s because start-up high tech businesses tend to stick around if they become successful and pay employees well. It’s also because small businesses tend to do the most hiring during an economic recovery.
Sixty-five percent of the new jobs in America are created by small businesses, according to a recent item on USNews.com.
So how important is it that Arizona has a highly competitive tax structure to attract and nurture small businesses?
Very, said Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, and author of the report “Business Tax index 2010: Best to Worst State Tax systems for Entrepreneurship and Small Business.”
“Taxes at the state and local levels matter by diverting resources from and reducing incentives for productive, private-sector risk taking that generates innovation, growth and jobs,” he said.
“Many state tax systems send an unmistakable signal to investors and entrepreneurs that they would be better off doing business elsewhere.”
States that ranked high on the tax index cranked up their publicity machines.
“Here in the Lone Star State, we have developed an environment that encourages entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams of small business ownership, further strengthening our economy and creating jobs for Texans,” Gov. Rick Perry said.
Here in Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer could say, we have created an above-average environment for entrepreneurs and small business — unless, of course, you are Latino, in which case we’ll need to check your documents.
Here in the OK Corral State, Brewer could say, we have created an above average environment for shoot-outs by allowing anybody and everybody to carry concealed weapons and to carry them into saloons.
Here in Arizona, she could say, we had the chance to pass job creation legislation (House Bill 2250) and chart a course for lowering business taxes, but we were just too busy cooking up a national public relations disaster.
Then, before you knew, it was time for the Legislature to go home.
Oh, well, manana.
Oops, am I allowed to use that word? Is it legal?
“Governors and legislators have a choice,” Keating said.
And we know what choice Arizona state leaders made.