Study: RI worst state to start a business

Posted 7/9/19

By ETHAN HARTLEY Thinking about opening a business? A recent report indicates you might want to do it somewhere other than Rhode Island, as Wallethub's 2019 Best Places to Start a Business" study found the Ocean State to be dead last overall when"

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Study: RI worst state to start a business


Thinking about opening a business? A recent report indicates you might want to do it somewhere other than Rhode Island, as Wallethub’s 2019 “Best Places to Start a Business” study found the Ocean State to be dead last overall when considering each state’s business environment, access to resources and the costs associated with doing business.

The study attempted to analyze all 50 states and rank them based on three different criteria, as outlined in the lead, which encompassed 26 total metrics – including small business growth, the five-year survival rate for small businesses, ability for businesses to receive financing from banks, corporate taxes and the overall cost of living.

The study found Rhode Island to have the 50th ranked (worst) business environment. This ranking was formed through compiling 13 different metrics, one of which is the average workweek in each state. Interestingly, Rhode Island got last in this category despite having, on average, the second shortest average work week among all states. The other 12 metrics include things like the number of “engaged” (read: happy) workers and the average growth of business revenues.

For its “access to resources rank,” Rhode Island was ranked in the middle of the pack at 24. This rank was assessed via six metrics that included the ability for businesses to access loans, the amount of human workers available and the state’s share of college-educated workers.

Lastly, Rhode Island ranked 36 out of 50 in the “business costs” ranking, which encompassed metrics such as the affordability of office space and labor costs, in addition to the cost of insurance for employees, as well as corporate tax rates and how much the state spends on incentives for new businesses to come to the state.

Little Rhody may be at rock bottom according to the study, but it’s not exactly an outlier among its neighbors. The study seems to indicate a heavy bias or some data-driven component that places states in the Northeast at a competitive disadvantage. Of the states listed in the bottom 10 in overall ranking, nine of them are located in the Northeast, including New Jersey, New Hampshire and Connecticut in the bottom five with Rhode Island. Massachusetts was ranked 36 out of 50, while Texas earned the top spot as most friendly to new business, according to their analysis.

As might be expected, those in the Rhode Island business community took exception to the bottom ranking.

“I disagree with that,” said Lauren Slocum, president and CEO of the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce. “Anyone who wants to open any business, regardless of the industry, the service or the product, needs to determine a few things and need to do their research.”

Slocum said that a successful business has more to do with the preparation and work put in by the business owner than the state they decide to open up shop in. She said it’s crucial for a business owner to decide what they are trying to get out of that business. Are they trying to make a living for themselves and their loved ones? Are they simply trying to pull in some supplemental income? Either goal will have totally different approaches and needs.

At the same time, Slocum said that collaboration needs to happen between the state and local municipalities to ensure that business regulations are as uninhibited and straightforward as possible. She believes that, in Rhode Island, the state has made strides in this area – cutting down excessive certification requirements to one streamlined document.

“I think it has significantly improved to where it has been in past years,” she said. “I think there is more work that can be done, As long as people are willing to have a conversation, things can be accomplished.”

Slocum also said that Rhode Island has unique offerings that should make it attractive to prospective business owners.

“I do think Rhode Island has an awful lot to offer, both from its size – it's a wonderful test state – it's easy in terms of transportation and accessibility,” she said. “And if you have an online business, you can sit in the woods or by the water – whichever is your preference- and enjoy all the other things Rhode Island has to offer while you run your business.”

Data used to create the Wallethub ranking was collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Center for Digital Government, National Venture Capital Association,, Tax Foundation, U.S. Cluster Mapping Project, Deloitte, The New York Times, Gallup, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Council for Community and Economic Research, LoopNet, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Kaiser Family Foundation and WalletHub research.


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we have only up to go. unless we start competing with guam

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Patient Man

"As might be expected, those in the Rhode Island business community took exception to the bottom ranking."

She's a Cheerleader & lobbyist for businesses. I wouldn't consider her as being a part of the business community the way I would small business owners.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Disgruntled in last place.

Giner has been governor for what, FIVE YEARS?

"Rhode Island is open for business" she likes to say. Only, apparently NOT.

But her voice lessons are slowly eliminating her local accent because she wants to take that success national.

But she did just get about a million dollar payout from Pt Judith Capital where she invested - and lost - so much of state pension money.

Only in RI

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Ben Dover

Someone find the queen of Raimondi out in Idaho for a media conference, (why, she's term limited, thank God) and strap her to her broomstick for home to address our Haitian like economy. "Roads" scholar...LOL!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Patient Man

Today CNBC released their "Top States for Business" survey & were dead last. In the 13 years they've done the survey RI has never finished higher than 45th. This is the 5th time RI has finished last.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
The Skipper

Listen I understand Gina is a absolute horror show. How about trying to blame the whole DemocRATic led, Union controlled, corrupt miserable STATE!

I know! let's make sure we legalize recreational Marijuana! Then the state can be corrupt, drunk, High, AND Stupid.

Don't forget Keep voting DemocRAT! and see how much better things are gonna get!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

mores oh woe is lil rhody. rather than try to steps up and fix tings, people will just go, oh ri is the worst

Thursday, July 11, 2019

We keep making the same mistakes and voting the same type of people in so we are never going to get any better until we change the entire system and culture. We know that isn't going to happen. We either move, or continue to complain about it.

Thursday, July 11, 2019
John Stark

I used to believe that the business environment would only change when the tax structure was changed. But that will only happen when the political makeup changes. And RI's public sector is dependent upon the existing tax structure for it's livelihood. So you have a Catch 22. Tax structure won't change unless political makeup changes, because unions own the Democrat party. And political makeup will only change when the tax structure changes. It's really a death spiral. Producers continue to leave, while Takers continue to come. The pie is shrinking. That said, I would really like posters to answer the eternal question:

What specific state services to RI taxpayers receive as a function of paying state income and sales taxes, that NH taxpayers Do Not Receive as a function of paying Neither a sales nor income tax? Better maintained roads and bridges? Better state university system? Better system of human service delivery? Better state parks? Higher standardized test scores? No, no, no, no, and no.

In FY 2020 RI will spend $10B on about a million people, or $10,000 per person. NH will spend about $6.5B on 1.3 million people, or about $5000 per person. At some point, taxpayers in RI need to ask some blunt questions. Based upon competency levels revealed in RICAS, however, the ability to formulate cogent questions might be a real challenge. This, despite one of the most expensive systems of government-run education in the developed world.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

"State rankings, like the one CNBC released today, are essentially meaningless, except as tools for pro-business extremists to hurt us"

Thursday, July 11, 2019
Patient Man

Cat, exactly

John Stark, Everything you said is true, but add:

The lack of a line item veto means RI will always have a weak Governor. Senate President & Speaker of the House are never going to let that happen.

Legislative Grants serve as bribes to get politicians re-elected. Think of the approx 5,000 voters in the Speakers district get $250,000 in LG's, while districts with GOP Representatives & Senators get little or more likely nothing.

The electorate needs to demand a change from their elected politicians or support politicians that run against them. Do you think anyone in President Ruggerio's district is going to run against him. The guy ran the laborers union for Decades. Because our elected members of the Senate support Ruggerio, we have a guy that is loyal to the unions over the rest of the state.

MyTwoCents, Yes, CNBC has a grudge against Rhode Island. You probably believe Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy hates public schools, but especially Providence public schools.

Thursday, July 11, 2019
FastFred Ward 4


Saturday, July 20, 2019
John Paris

This has been a re-occurring theme for many years in RI. In the past, political blame was not easily identifiable. As time has gone by, it is easy to see that business has left the states and the reasons are the environment created by RI political process. This is not only RI.. Connecticut has lost large corporations (GE namely), California has lost many corporations to Texas. Most recently NY losing Amazon to VA. When you look at the reasons, many of the states are those governed or mostly governed by politicians from the Democratic party. This is not by accident. If you have watched recent Presidential Democratic primary debates, these candidates are seeking to go after corporations for 'not paying their employees a fair share" and have vowed to raise taxes on those who hold Sr. positions at these firms "as part of the 1%".. In reality, our capitalist society is turning more socialistic. Social societies fail (Venezuela, etc..) RI is following that path. No incentive for business to come here, increased fees put on by current governor and past governor. We need real change, other states are having much success. Our senators and reps are not getting the job done. Not under this president, or past 4. At moment, in order to keep business from leaving, state leadership is selling their sole by reducing tax expense. They do not however provide the same benefit to potential new business. All in all, it is mix of poor management by our democrat weighted politicians and those they place in positions of management. Unions are not bad, they are good as they keep things honest. Yet what good are unions if there is no work to be obtained. Relying on state funds to upgrade roads., building etc.. are not the major draws to new business. Providing free secondary schooling does not draw business when a strong labor force lives 30 miles away in Massachusetts. Many factors for the reason we are last, many factors that are multiplying..

Friday, August 2, 2019