Small business owners give Indiana A+

The Indiana Statehouse is located in Indianapolis. Small business owners gave the state an A+ in the Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey.

Dan Carden, The Times

Small businesses owners gave Indiana high marks on Thumbtack’s annual Small Business Friendliness Survey.

The Hoosier state got an A+ grade on the six-year-old survey of more than 13,000 small businesses owners across the United States. It received a B grade for the five previous years.

In 2017 however, Indiana received evaluations on licensing requirements, tax regulations, health and safety rules and labor regulations that were 8 percent higher overall than last year. The state ranked eighth nationally in small business owner positivity.

"The small business owners we heard from in Indiana were 4 percent more positive about their state’s support for small businesses than the national average, leading to their A+ grade overall," Thumbtack Economist Lucas Puente said. "And compared to nearby states, such as Illinois (F) and Ohio (B+), Indiana did generally better."

Small business owners gave Indiana A grades in ease of starting a business, tax code, health and safety, and employment, labor and hiring. They gave the state B+ grades in ease of hiring, licensing and regulations, B marks on environmental issues and government websites and a B- for zoning. 

Indiana's lowest grade was a C+ for training and networking programs.

Those surveyed gave Illinois a B- for training and networking programs but F grades for regulations, tax code, environmental issues, licensing and government websites.

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.