The city of San Diego doesn’t have to do much to attract the crowds. If you’ve ever been there, you know the sun is shining what seems like 300 days of the year. It’s no wonder it’s one of five top tourist destinations in the country.
As such, the Southern California city has garnered a new name for itself: the least expensive big city in the state to do business, according to a report released by the Kosmont Companies–Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College called the “Cost of Doing Business.”
“We contact all the city governments in the country and give them an opportunity to update their information. 2011’s survey featured 421 local cities,” said Heather Siegel, manager of the Kosmont-Rose Institute Cost of Doing Business survey. “The key factors that we use are business license taxes, utility user taxes, sales tax, property tax, and state income tax.”
Each city is given a ranking of one to five dollar signs.
“San Diego is a two dollar ranked city. Nationally if you look at the five dollar sign cities, the very high cost cities, many of them are big cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles,” said Siegel.
“San Diego’s ranking is a big deal, particularly because in California there are so many very high cost cities, for instance, the vast majority of Los Angeles county cities are on average, high and very high end cost.”
This is all great news when you’re the mayor of San Diego. Mayor Jerry Sanders told reporters, “we’ve worked very hard over the past several years to create a business-friendly climate.”
The city, tooting its own horn, says it has cut the red tape, streamlined the permit process and created city programs that help small businesses start up.
Mayor Sanders, serving his last term due to term limits, said the council has worked hard “to bring every resource we have to make San Diego a place people want to come to.”
In the tech industry alone, 312 companies started up in 2011, creating more than 1,000 new jobs.
Other major California regions didn’t get such great rankings. Five cities are in the top 20 as most expensive cities to do business–Los Angeles, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Culver City and Santa Monica.
Over the years, the survey has proven to be a measuring stick, a tool for other cities to see how they match up with their counterparts.
“Cities will compare their tax structures compared to those either nearby cities or similarly sized cities or cities facing similar economic situations,” said Siegel.
And how’s this… The Wall Street Journal cited the report as a reliable indicator of municipal economic climate.
Folks with the Kosmont-Rose Institute are hard at work putting together the 2012 survey due out this fall.