Even if we lose all our headquarters, even if big business expansions go elsewhere, we can always count on small businesses to stay here and grow, right? Wrong.
We’ve all heard the constant drumbeat about Fidelity’s moves and expansions elsewhere—they’re going to New Hampshire, packing off to North Carolina, they’ve been lassoed by Texas, and they have a great base in my lovely birth state Li’l Rhodey.
A small digression in defense of Rhodey for you Mass snobs who can only venture to Plum Island, the Cape or Vineyard: Rhode Island has everything you could want—coffee syrup, Saugy hot dogs, the Cranston accent can cut through any clump of earwax, and the beaches are Florida compared to Salisbury and anything north of Boston. (Do human beings actually swim north of the Cape, or do they just bring the kids and dogs as a form of Sunday punishment?) I am sure the reason why Fidelity is moving is the water; it has nothing to do with the business climate.
Our friends at the Reason Foundation pass on the following very interesting point. The National Federation of Independent Business, which defines small businesses as those with fewer than 250 employees has conducted a survey of small biz attitudes. Reason notes that “of the 754 small business owners recently surveyed by the National Federation of Independent Business, 28 percent are planning to expand outside their current area and 13 percent intend to go a step further and move their business somewhere else.” (p.3)
That’s a whopping 41 percent who either are expanding or moving elsewhere. And while these numbers come from a national survey, don’t ya think that small businesses (including manufacturers!) in Massachusetts, because of the various additional costs of doing business, may hover around that number? A survey focused on our fair Bay State would probably be helpful.
A billion for biotech is not going to change these stats. Only a long, hard political slog to improve the business climate basics. That’s exactly what the Measuring Up? The Cost of Doing Business in Massachusetts report we released in November 2006 calls for. Check out how the various costs hit your industry.
So, we still cannot find it in us to reform unemployment insurance and streamline permitting for residential and commercial development?