Ohio on the right track in helping small businesses

Ohio officials are to be congratulated for improving conditions for small-business owners in the state. According to an annual survey by Thumbtack.com and the Kauffman Foundation, Ohio’s overall grade for small-business friendliness has improved to a C-minus in 2013, from a D-plus last year. It is a small step, but it is a step in the right direction, and shows local and state officials are thinking about ways to improve the economy, from the ground up.

Counties in Central and Eastern Ohio fared best in the survey’s grading system, which took into consideration factors such as ease of starting a business, tax code and environmental concerns.

As a whole, Ohio scored highest in the area of health and safety, which is wonderful news. On the other hand, the state received its worst scores when it came to training and networking programs. Data were not available for all states, but Ohio small-business owners should also take some comfort in knowing Hawaii, Maine and Rhode Island all received resounding F’s in the survey.

Now Ohio officials should have some clear goals in order to keep those grades moving higher for 2014 – particularly when it comes to the C-minus grades for environmental concerns and training.

“Policymakers put themselves in the best position to encourage sustainable growth and long-term prosperity by listening to the voices of small-business owners themselves,” said Dane Stangler, director of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation.

While the large corporations may have Washington’s ear, many workers are relying on the little guys for good jobs, and the folks in Columbus must be sure they keep listening.