Howard Rich's Blog

May 1, 2009

Survey finds taxes, regulations are top barriers for businesses

Filed under: Headlines — howierich @ 7:49 pm
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From the Colorado Springs Gazette:

Government regulations and high taxes and fees are the top barriers for businesses in the Colorado Springs area, according to a survey about the area’s business climate conducted last month by a new local nonprofit group.

More than one-third of the 186 business persons who responded to 13 questions in the survey said they were “not very satisfied” with the local business climate and about 30 percent said government regulation was among the top three barriers to doing businesses in the area. More than three- fourths of those responding also rated the local business climate as either worse or much worse than it was both two years ago and 10 years ago.

Cheyenne Mountain Civic Solutions, headed by former Gazette editor Jon Stepleton, released the survey results Thursday during the Limited Government Week conference at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. The online survey was conducted by Summit Economics LLC and attracted nearly 300 respondents, though only about 180 answered most questions. More than 30 percent of respondents headed real estate or construction firms.

Business owners also were concerned about economic issues and cited a lack of leadership and vision at all levels, including political, civic and business, as a problem, the survey found. While they were satisfied with local utility and telecommunications service and the quality and availability of workers, business persons were dissatisfied with the availability of tax incentives for expansion and the time it takes to get permits required to expand.

The top ways to improve the local business climate, the survey found, would be to exempt business equipment from personal property tax and exempt purchases of such gear from sales and use taxes as well as improving the city’s image in the media. Despite listing high taxes and fees as barriers, fewer than 30 percent of those responding to the survey listed reducing property taxes or corporate and personal income taxes as ways to improve the business climate.

The results aren’t all that different from another survey of business leaders and local residents conducted earlier this year by AngelouEconomics and released last month as part of a $160,000 study of local economic development efforts. That survey found a mistrust of government and a lack of leadership and vision among government leaders as the biggest issues for economic development, eroding public support for public improvements and services.

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