2011 Kosmont-Rose Institute Cost of Doing Business Survey Executive Summary

This year, the Rose Institute is proud to release an online preview of the 2011 Kosmont-Rose Institute Cost of Doing Business Survey Executive Summary. The annual Survey uses comprehensive data about fees, taxes, and economic incentives to analyze the relative cost of doing business in 421 cities across the country. The nine-page Executive Summary preview offers an overview of the Survey’s Highlights, discussion of the 20 Most and Least Expensive Cities, a sample of the Executive Summary’s in-depth individual county analyses and useful GIS maps, and excerpts from its big-picture analysis.

This year’s Most Expensive Cities, which include Akron, OH; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; and Saint Louis, MO, are scattered throughout the country and include many regional business hubs. Six of the 20 Most Expensive cities are in the Midwest, five are in California, four are in the Northeast, four are in the Southeast, and one is in the Northwest. Many of these cities made the Survey’s “Most Expensive” list because they have high business license fees and property tax rates.

In contrast, all 20 of this year’s Least Expensive Cities are located in Western or Central states. Texas and Washington are especially well-represented; five of the 20 cities are in Texas, and seven are in Washington. Nevada and Oregon each have two cities, while California does not have any. Half of the “Least Expensive” cities do not have business license fees, and 16 are located in states that do not impose personal or corporate income taxes.

The complete Executive Summary includes individual county analyses for ten key California counties across the state. The Preview offers an in-depth look at the Cost of Doing Business in Los Angeles County, which continues to be one of the most expensive areas in the state. This year, more than half of the 74 Los Angeles County cities surveyed received either a High Cost ($$$$) or Very High Cost ($$$$$) rating. However, only two cities received Very Low Cost ($) ratings. A very high sales tax is one factor that makes Los Angeles such an expensive county. As of July 1, 2011, thirty-three cities had sales tax rates of 9.75%, two had rates of 10.25%, and two had rates of 10.75%. The GIS map shows that most of the Very High Cost cities are geographically concentrated around the City of Los Angeles, forcing businesses to accept high costs in exchange for proximity to Los Angeles.

Finally, the preview includes sections that explore why California cities consistently rate poorly, California’s tenuous economic recovery, and proposed changes to California’s Redevelopment Agency Model. These informative articles provide background information on the political and economic climate, particularly in California, that affects the cost of doing business by influencing tax rates, economic incentives, and attitudes towards businesses.

To find out more information about the 2011 Kosmont-Rose Institute Cost of Doing Business Survey, please click here. You can also order the complete Executive Summary, individual city profiles, or the entire Cost of Doing Business Survey on CD by clicking here.

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