Study ranks ease of doing business in Nebraska’s largest cities
A report titled “Doing Business in North America” was published by the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty at Arizona State University. This study focuses on business regulations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Interestingly, this study’s ranking is based on cities, and Omaha and Lincoln are included in the index.
These types of studies and rankings are important because it can help policymakers understand which regulatory and policy environments can produce the best economic outcomes for the largest number of people. That’s something Nebraska needs to focus on given its need for tax modernization and job creation.
There are six categories in which Nebraska’s two largest cities were measured:
|Category||Lincoln Ranking||Omaha Ranking|
|Starting a Business||72nd||71st|
|Land and Space Use||91st||71st|
Overall, it is easy to see Omaha and Lincoln need the most work in the Land and Space Use category. According to the study’s methodology, “Doing Business North America records the full sequence of procedures necessary for a business to purchase a property from another business and to transfer the property title to the buyer’s name so that the buyer can use the property for: (i) expanding its business, (ii) collateral in taking new loans, or (iii) selling the property to another business.”
In addition, the index measures the cost to complete each of these procedures as well as the number of approvals needed in both zoning and re-zoning processes.
From a nationwide perspective, here are some cities that have gotten it right with land use policies and who Nebraska should look to for more business-friendly reforms. You may not usually think of large, congested cities as ranking better than Nebraska cities in business-friendly policy areas, but in this case, many do.
Arlington, Virginia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. are the top three ranked cities for Land and Space Use policies for business. In the Midwest, the leaders are Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Chicago, Tulsa, Sioux Falls, and Columbus. For context, Lincoln is the next to the bottom, with Indianapolis being the only city ranking worse out of all 130 in the index (a ranking was not provided in this category for many of the cities in Mexico). Clearly, there are changes that need to be made.
Cities including Tulsa, Sioux Falls, Cincinnati, Cheyenne, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, and Columbus all ranked in the top 25 for overall “Ease of Doing Business,” ahead of Omaha and Lincoln.
In the area of tax policy, these cities ranked in the top and should be considered the tax competitors of Nebraska’s cities: Sioux Falls, Cheyenne, Fargo, St. Louis, and Oklahoma City.
Across the entirety of North America, the city that ranked #1 for ease of doing business was Raleigh, North Carolina. In fact, the top ranked cities were all included in the United States, with the exception of Edmonton, Alberta in Canada, which scored higher than New York City and Los Angeles.