Illinois Among Worst for Small-Business Friendliness

Illinois Among Worst for Small-Business Friendliness

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I always think of Illinois as a relatively friendly state, but when it comes to Illinois’ small businesses, apparently the state is not so friendly, after all.

Illinois rates an “F” in Thumbtack’s recently released fourth-annual Small Business Friendliness Survey. The study, drawing upon data from nearly 18,000 small business owners, provides new insights into state and local business environments across the nation.

“Small business owners on Thumbtack have consistently told us that they welcome support from their government but are frequently frustrated by unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles,” said Jon Lieber, chief economist of “Given that there is a crisis of entrepreneurship in the United States, seen in the broad collapse of self-employment across industries and states, creating the right environment for business start-ups is more important than ever.”

The survey doesn’t break down information by county, but there are quotes from Kane County business owners, good and bad, that you can find on Thumbtack’s interactive map. Screenshots of two of the quotes are included at the end of this article.

Some of the survey’s key findings include:

  • Texas, New Hampshire, Utah, Louisiana, and Colorado gave their states the highest rating for friendliness to small business. Small businesses in Manchester, Dallas, Richmond, Austin, and Knoxville gave their cities the highest ratings.
  • In contrast, small business owners gave Illinois, California, Connecticut and Rhode Island an “F,” while Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York earned a “D” grade. Providence, New Haven, Buffalo, Albuquerque, and Hartford were the survey’s worst­-performing cities as rated by their small business owners.
  • Small businesses in Texas and Utah have rated their states in the top five every year this survey has run, while California and Rhode Island have been rated in the bottom five every year.
  • State and city governments that promote local business training and focus on ease of regulatory compliance are consistently perceived as being friendliest to small business.
  • Professionals who weren’t required to have a license judged their cities and states in a more favorable light; however, respondents who were required to carry a license but said that complying with licensing rules was “very easy” were just as favorable towards their government as respondents who weren’t required to have a license at all.
  • Entrepreneurs’ perceptions of their tax burdens were among the least important factors in judging governments.
  • Investing in a high quality, easy-to-use website that provides useful information and decreases the costs of regulatory compliance improves overall perceptions of a local or state government.

A copy of the survey’s full methodology and analysis paper is available upon request. Please email Thumbtack’s Chief Economist, Jon Lieber, at for a copy of the paper and with any questions or comments you might have.

Good News

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Bad News

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