R.I. receives D+ for business friendliness from small-business owners

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island received a business friendliness letter score of D+ in a recent survey of small-business owners conducted by Thumbtack released Tuesday.

The D+ score was an improvement, as Rhode Island earned a D in 2018.

Small-business owner respondents in the Ocean State graded the tax code in the state harshest of all categories in the survey, giving it an F.

The state earned a B+ for government websites, its highest grade.

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Rhode Island’s D+ ranked No. 41 in the United States this year, an improvement on its No. 48 rank in 2018 with a D.

Thumbtack surveyed more than 5,000 small-business owners in 49 states for the report. The survey, conducted between May 8 and July 1, 2019, contained 41 questions, which were translated into letter grades by Thumbtack.

Components of the overall D+ Rhode Island score from the Thumbtack business friendliness survey from highest grades to lowest:

  • Government websites: B+
  • Ease of starting a business: B
  • Employment, labor and training: D+
  • Training and networking programs: D+
  • Ease of Hiring: D
  • Licensing: D
  • Regulations: D
  • Tax code: F

Rhode Island’s overall grade was the second-lowest in New England, only ahead of Connecticut, which earned an F grade. Maine was the highest-rated state in the region with an A+ score.

New England grades:

  • Maine: A+, an improvement from an A- one year prior
  • Massachusetts: A, an improvement from an A- one year prior
  • New Hampshire: C-, a decline from a B one year prior
  • Vermont: C-, unchanged year over year
  • Rhode Island: D+, an improvement from a D one year prior
  • Connecticut: F, a decline from C- one year prior

The report also found that small businesses in the Providence metropolitan area gave it a letter grade of C- for 2019, a rank of No. 35. The Providence metro earned a D+ in 2018.

Providence grades from highest to lowest:

  • Government websites: A
  • Ease of Starting a business: B-
  • Employment, labor and hiring: C-
  • Licensing: C-
  • Ease of hiring: D
  • Regulation: D
  • Training and networking programs: D
  • Tax code: F

Other New England metro grades:

  • Manchester, N.H.: A-, from an A in 2018
  • Boston: B-, from an A- a year ago
  • Bridgeport, Conn.: C-, from a B in 2017
  • New Haven, Conn.: C-, a decline from a C in 2017
  • Hartford, Conn.: F, a decline from a C in 2018

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