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Survey: NY earns D grade for small business friendliness

The Empire State is one of the more difficult states to establish a small business, according to an annual survey published this week.

New York scored an D grade for its overall “friendliness” to small business and was handed an F for its ease of starting a business, according to the Small Business Friendliness Survey, conducted by Thumbtack, a website-based consumer service company.

New York was listed fifth among states deemed least friendly to small businesses, behind only California, Connecticut, Illinois and Rhode Island respectively. About 18,000 business owners across 36 states, including 910 from New York, took part in the annual survey, now in its fourth year.

From this relatively small sampling, the survey found New York owners’ greatest concerns are high taxes and a burdensome regulatory system.

“New York state could do better for these small businesses, who tell us the regulatory environment is making life too hard for solo entrepreneurs to succeed,” said Jon Lieber, chief economist at

Survey questions included: “In general, how would you rate your state’s support of small business owners?” and “How difficult or easy do you think it is to start a new business in your state?”

Among the quotes from New York business owners Thumbtack featured on its website after publishing the survey Tuesday include:

“The taxes are crazy and the people don’t have the income to pay for services.” – Personal trainer

“I have no problem other than the tax filing procedures. It is numerous and confusing.” – Private investigator

“It is easy to start a business here as long as you don’t have to deal with changing zoning. You have to gain the approval of local civic organizations who are against most changes. The most difficult part of doing business in New York are state regulations which are enforced with a heavy hand.” – Wedding officiant

Although owners said it is not easy to start a small business in New York, the state scored best in training and networking programs and ease of hiring, each earning B- grades.

Meanwhile, Texas, New Hampshire and Utah topped the survey’s rankings as the most friendly states to small business.

“Given that there is a crisis of entrepreneurship in the United States, seen in the broad collapse of self-employment across industries and states, creating the right environment for business start-ups is more important than ever,” Liebner said.