ENID, Okla. — A recent study by financial analysis firm SmartAsset analyzed tax data to determine the “best places for small business owners,” and ranked Major and Kingfisher counties second and third in the state, respectively.

Roger Mills County was ranked No. 1, and the top 10, after Major and Kingfisher, included, in order, Beaver, Beckham, Dewey, Cimarron, Harper, Logan and McClain counties.

To answer the question, “Which places are best for small businesses owners?” SmartAsset analysts considered three factors: the proportion of people in a county with small business income, how much business income those people reported, and the amount of tax a potential resident must pay on their income.

“To determine how attractive a region is for small business owners, we compared the number of tax returns that report small business income compared to the total tax-filing population of the region,” according to the study authors. “Next, we compared the total amount of small business income to the overall amount of income reported in each region.”

To determine income tax burdens across counties, SmartAsset used national median household income data, then applied relevant deductions and exemptions before calculating federal, state and local income taxes for each location.

“These three factors were then indexed and equally weighted to yield our small business index,” according to the study.

The small business index (SBI) calculated in the study provided each county in the nation with a score on a 100-point scale.

Roger Mills was the highest-ranked county in Oklahoma, with an SBI of 60.12, followed by Major County at 53.78 and Kingfisher at 53.12.

JaNae Barnard, executive director of Major County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC), said in counties like Major County, being an attractive area for small businesses is the result of both heritage and hard work.

“Historically, we’ve always been an area with entrepreneurial spirit,” Barnard said. “It’s evident with our farming heritage, our strong manufacturing history and our can-do spirit.

“Over the years we’ve worked hard to develop small business support,” Barnard said, pointing to dedicated partnerships between Fairview Chamber of Commerce, MCEDC and its business incubator, Fairview Industrial Park and Northwest Technology Center.

In addition to those entities, Barnard said Major County also benefits from a broad community infrastructure — including utilities, health care, schools and social services — that makes the area attractive to both small businesses and their employees’ families.

“We have strong partnerships throughout the community,” Barnard said, “and it shows.”

To read the full SmartAsset report and see rankings for other Oklahoma counties, visit https://tinyurl.com/BestPlacesforSmallBusinesses.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
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