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Mississippi fairly friendly for small business

By Staff
August 5, 2001
Sixty-three years ago, three downtown movie houses were attracting crowds. Products were advertised for sale at prices a little different than we know today.
The local spirit of entrepreneurship was alive and well.
Some cases in point:
In August 1938, Loretta Young and Joel McCrea were starring in "Three Blind Mice" at the Temple Theater on Eighth Street.
The Alberta Theater, advertised as "comfortably cool," had "King Kong" with Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong and Bruce Cabot.
Pepsi Colas sold for a nickel.
Alex Loeb Inc. had a cure for the "summer doldrums."
Over at Ed. M. Culpepper, the tailor and clothier's shop on Fourth Street, suits were going for $16.
Mississippi Beverage Co. on 22nd Avenue advertised Cook's "Goldblume" beer. No price mentioned in the ad.
Sixty-three years ago this month, there was no formal measurement of small business success stories. Today, there's the Small Business Survival Committee, which rates states on how friendly their policies are toward entrepreneurship.
Power of an idea
When you get right down to it  and I saw this repeatedly as editor of the Mississippi Business Journal for five years anyone who opens a shop door or launches some other business fits the definition of the word "entrepreneur." Meridian and Mississippi are full of them and their ideas helped power revolutions in so many areas that you could never name them all.
But measuring the climate for small businesses nationwide shows how states really view small business and entrepreneurship.
And in that connection, Mississippi fared well in Small Business Survival Index 2001. Mississippi ranked ninth, just behind eighth-ranked Alabama and just ahead of 10th-ranked Tennessee.
The index offers a gauge by which to measure how government in the states treat small businesses and entrepreneurs, according to the Survival Committee's chief economist, Raymond J. Keating, author of the study. He notes that small business serves as the backbone of the U.S. economy by providing the bulk of new jobs and the majority of innovations.
Taxes make a difference
The Small Business Survival Index 2001 ties together 17 major government-imposed or government-related costs impacting small businesses and entrepreneurs across a broad spectrum of industries and types of businesses.
These costs involve personal income taxes, capital gains taxes, corporate income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, death taxes, unemployment taxes, health insurance taxes, electricity costs, workers compensation costs, crime rates, right to work status, number of bureaucrats, tax limitation status, Internet taxes, gas taxes, and state minimum wages.
Under the 2001 ranking, the 10 friendliest states for small business are Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, Florida, Texas, New Hampshire, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Don't even think of opening a small business in the District of Columbia, Rhode Island or Hawaii. It's still fascinating that the least friendly climate for small business is the very seat of our federal government.
The best policy environment for entrepreneurship consists of low taxes, limited government and restrained regulation. States following such a governing philosophy will reap great rewards from America's entrepreneurs, including faster economic growth and increased job creation.
Meridian's city officials may want to consider this as they propose a tax increase and as taxpayers have problems getting their problems solved.
Buddy Bynum is editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3213, or e-mail him at bbynum@themeridianstar.com.

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