The Denver Broncos can rightfully claim the title of world champions after getting defensive in their victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
But how does Colorado fare in a competition of a far different sort, but one with important ramifications for small businesses in the state? The latest answer in six words: not bad, but could be better.
Colorado ranks 11th among the 50 states in the 2016 Small Business Policy Index, an annual analysis that could be considered something of a Super Bowl of how various policies affect small businesses and entrepreneurship.
The overall champion in the latest index, by the way, is Nevada. California remains the biggest loser.
The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council compiles the index.
The small business advocacy and research group takes into account a total of 50 performance, regulatory, spending and tax policy measures in calculating a combined score that offers state-by-state comparisons.
Colorado earned a score of 64.148, just 0.003 less than 10th-ranked Indiana.
Colorado fared well for its comparatively low gasoline and diesel taxes and workers’ compensation insurance costs as well as a light energy regulatory burden. On the other hand, Colorado has comparatively high levels of state and local government debt and a high minimum wage.
Just like in the Super Bowl, there are winners and losers in the competition to promote small business and economic growth along with the jobs that go with that. Lower taxes and lighter regulatory burdens promote the growth of existing businesses and attract new businesses. Higher taxes and heavier regulatory burdens drive them away. Businesses — and the people who run them and work for them — naturally go where the best economic opportunities can be found.
Consider, for example, that real annual economic growth from 2011 to 2014 among the top 25 states in the index was nearly 30 percent higher that among the bottom 25 states. Population growth from 2010 to 2015 among the top 25 states was double that of the bottom 25 states.
Even as Broncos fans in Colorado celebrate the latest Super Bowl victory for their beloved team, they’d do well to think about ways the state could better compete on other playing fields.