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What the State Entrepreneurship Index Says to Oregon Voters

Blog Post
October 9, 2012By Chuck Sheketoff

I wonder what Kevin Mannix and the Oregon corporate lobby have to say about the newly published State Entrepreneurship Index (PDF). The index shows that Oregon had one of the nation's better business climates in 2010 and 2011. Regardless of how they might spin it, the report is yet one more piece in the overwhelming case for "yes" on Measure 85 and "no" on Measure 84 in the November ballot.

According to the index, Oregon had the 6th highest score for entrepreneurship in 2011. That's up from 10th best in 2010. (Don't tell me the 2010 voter-approved tax Measures 66 and 67 were bad for Oregon).

The index, compiled by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) College of Business Administration’s Bureau of Business Research, scores states in four areas: the income of entrepreneurs (i.e., non-farm proprietors), business formation rates, patents (i.e., technological innovation), and growth in employer establishments. UNL's Bureau of Business Research believes that unlike popular measures for state economies (unemployment rates and job growth), their index is a measure of the underlying economic strength of the states. The index looks at states’ actual performance, not value-laden analysis of various state laws.

Between 2010 and 2011, Oregon enjoyed big jumps in the "percent growth in employer establishments" (from 15th to 4th highest) and in the "percent growth in employer establishments per person" (from 17th to 8th).

I've said it before and I'll say it again: a state's business climate depends on factors other than taxes. Apart from location (which we can't change), what matters in assessing the business climate is the availability of a skilled and healthy work force, the quality of the education system and the quality of public infrastructure.

Wouldn't it be nice if Kevin Mannix and the Oregon corporate lobby looked at the UNL Bureau of Business Research study and decided to stop pushing for yet more tax cuts for the rich and corporations? Wouldn't it be nice if they looked at the facts regarding tax cuts and economic growth (PDF) and decided to call on lawmakers to raise revenue so that we can invest more in the public structures that benefit everyone, including the entrepreneurs?

Rather than holding our breath for that to happen, lets vote "yes" on Measure 85 to end the corporate kicker tax break and "no" on Measure 84 to stop millionaires from passing along great amounts of wealth tax free.

This post was originally published on on Oct 9, 2012. The original post can be found at