Each year the national Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBE) Council compiles its "Business Survival Index."  The 2011 study has just been released and once again it contains very bad news for New Jersey.

SBE Council chief Economist Ray Keating authored the study. He explains, "We've pulled together 44 different measures. It's really the most comprehensive measurement, I think of how friendly or unfriendly the states are to small business."

"Not good news for New Jersey on the Small Business Survival index to say the least," explains Keating. "It ranks 49th this year out of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia," says Keating. "D.C. is dead last and neighboring New York is #50. When you rank that poorly obviously you've got a lot of negatives.........What it means is that the policy climate in New Jersey remains almost the worst in the nation in terms of taxes, regulations and government spending."

The Index changes from year to year, but for New Jersey this is the first time in the last five years that the state has not been ranked #50.

According to Keating, Some elected officials, policymakers and special interests believe that taxes, regulations and other governmental costs can be increased with impunity. Economic reality tells a different story. Ever-mounting burdens placed on entrepreneurs and small businesses by government negatively affects economic opportunity. People go where economic opportunity is, in turn, bringing more opportunity with them. The "Small Business

Survival Index" tries to make clear the relative governmental burdens placed on entrepreneurship among the states, so that business owners and their employees, elected officials and citizens in general can better grasp the competitive position of their respective states.

New Jersey ranks tied for 47th worst when it comes to top personal income taxes rates, tied for 48th worst in top capital gains tax rates, tied for 43rd worst in top corporate income tax rates, 50th worst in combined state and local property tax rates and 46th worst in terms of electric utility rates.

There is some good news. The state's crime rate is 6th lowest in the country according to the survey and New Jersey has the 3rd lowest gas tax in nation.

"In the end, it is critical to understand that government does not drive economic growth. Quite the contrary, growth comes from the private sector," says Keating. "The ultimate source of growth is economic risk taking in the private sector, that is, investing and entrepreneurship. These crucial activities drive innovation, invention, efficiency and productivity in our economy. While consumers ultimately decide what works and what does not, entrepreneurs, innovators and investors will invest the capital - including sweat equity - and offer the ideas that launch and build businesses, create new jobs and grow the economy."