The Jobs-Unfriendly Environment in Massachusetts

I know this can seem like a talking point, but there’s some new data to back up the claim.

The Kaufmann Foundation and have done a survey of small businesses to gauge “small business friendliness.” Massachusetts doesn’t fare so well — we get a D overall. We do well on “Networking Programs,” but we’re terrible in most other categories, like regulation, zoning, etc.. The data is based on a limited number of self-selected responses, but it’s an interesting approach that indicates the importance of licensing and regulation on business creation.

One of the most important ways to create new jobs (which we need) is to get new businesses started. So, it would make sense to lower the barriers that prevent people from starting new businesses.

As if on cue, the Governor has launched a high-profile effort to review state regulations and eliminate unnecessary ones. Let’s hope this effort doesn’t just go after the low-hanging fruit of outdated (and little-applied) regulations but steps on some toes and gets at these barriers to new businesses. Our licensing rules are, somewhat surprisingly, about middle-of-the-road compared to other states, but are still arbitrary and unnecessary in many cases (2 years of training to be a barber? Licensing home entertainment installers?). These areas might be a good place to start.


Crossposted at Pioneer Institute’s blog.