(The Center Square) – Though Pennsylvania lawmakers have made some progress in becoming more business-friendly, the commonwealth still lags nationally.
Another ranking does not flatter the status quo and shows what remains to be done to catch up to the national average.
A report from WalletHub comparing states ranked Pennsylvania as the 7th-worst in the nation for starting a business. While better than New Jersey and West Virginia, the rest of Pennsylvania’s border states placed higher.
Delaware and Ohio, ranked at 34th and 35th respectively, were the best of the commonwealth’s neighbors.
Utah, Florida, Texas, Colorado and Idaho were the top-performing states, while Rhode Island, New Jersey, West Virginia, Connecticut and Alaska rounded out the bottom.
Of the eight factors used by WalletHub, Pennsylvania scored highest on the percentage of residents who were fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (16th), followed by the cost of living (27th) and labor costs.
The commonwealth’s worst categories were industry variety (39th), the average growth in the number of small businesses (36th), and office-space affordability (33rd).
“Tax rates and other state-level tax policies certainly influence business startup and location decisions, but the latest research suggests that other issues are at least as important,” economist Donald Bruce of the University of Tennessee told WalletHub. “Business owners care more about access to suppliers and markets, transportation and communications infrastructure, amenities like parks and good schools for their employees, and supportive business policies other than taxes.”
State lawmakers have begun to make progress on some long-standing issues for economic growth. The reduction of the corporate net income tax, passed last year, went into effect Jan. 1 and will gradually reduce the rate from 9.99% to 4.99% in 2031. Other issues, however, like high housing prices and population loss, remain.