A few of our state legislators were on Twitter touting Indiana’s ranking for “small business climate” reported in Inside Indiana Business (your number one source for people saying “Inside Indiana Business.”) The rankings came from the “Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council” which appears to be a conservative advocacy group. The group’s rankings are based on a “state’s policy climate for small business and entrepreneurship based on criteria including taxes, regulation and government spending.” Based on its criteria, it ranks Indiana 7th. First on the list was Nevada. Last on the list are California, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota, Vermont, and Hawaii.
Let’s not lose sight of the goal. At the end of the day, things like taxes and regulations (or lack thereof) are tools to improve the lives of citizens. The lists that we want Indiana to be on top of are the ones about how prosperous, happy, and healthy our lives are.
In this list on healthiness, Indiana ranked 41st (Hawaii 1st, Vermont 2nd, Minnesota 6th). In terms of prosperity, here is a chart showing average disposable income by state (adjusting for cost of living). Indiana ranks toward the bottom. Minnesota and New Jersey still fare pretty well on that list. In terms of the happiest states, Indiana is in the bottom 40%. Hawaii, California, Minnesota, and Vermont are all well above us. New York is comparable.
Sure, I don’t know much at all about the lists I linked to or the people who prepared them. But I also don’t know much about the Inside Indiana Business linked list. Still, eye on the prize, please lawmakers. If the pro-business policies are leading to improved quality of life for citizens, keep them. If they aren’t, then adjust them. Don’t mistake the means for the ends.