Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Local business and civic leaders unveiled a new economic study detailing the economic impact of shopping at local businesses in comparison with spending at national chains at Harmon's Grocery Store in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. The first of its kind in the Intermountain West, the study shows the potential economic impact of consumers shifting even a small portion of their spending from chains to locally owned, independent businesses. Members of Local First Utah, an organization that educates the public and government about the importance of locally owned independent business to the community, were pleased with the results of the study.

Utah has one of the top 10 best tax climates for businesses in the U.S. and boasts the third best property tax rate in the nation, according to a study from The Tax Foundation.

The Tax Foundation ranked each state’s tax programs based on how business-friendly they are. The more friendly the program, the higher the state was ranked.

The Beehive State ranked third in the nation for property tax rates and fifth for corporate, according to the study. The state’s sales tax rate was the lowest, ranking at 22nd.

“It is true that taxes are but one factor in business decision-making,” said Scott Drenkard, economist, and Joseph Henchman, vice president for state projects, both with the Tax Foundation. “Other concerns, such as raw materials or infrastructure or a skilled labor pool, matter, but a simple, sensible tax system can positively impact business operations with regard to these very resources.”

Salt Lake’s economy grew on average by 2.53 percent annually since 2001, despite the recession, making it one of the strongest among large metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Utah’s capital had the ninth highest average annual growth rate in GDP in the nation between 2001 and 2010 among metropolitan areas with a population of at least 1 million.

“We’ve done a good job ensuring that we have a very business-friendly environment in the state of Utah and that’s attractive to companies,” Spencer P. Eccles, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said in a phone interview. “Whether you’re talking about Salt Lake or all the way down to Washington County, we’re finding that we’re winning all over the place.”

The state’s business-friendly policies have brought in companies like Scheel’s, eBay and Edwards Lifesciences.


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