Lincoln County ranks high for small businesses

Published 1:00 pm Sunday, January 16, 2022

Lincoln County is one of the top locations in Mississippi with a strong small business presence, according to a new study by SmartAsset. 

Lincoln County was ranked No. 2 in the top-10 list overall, with a Small Business Index of 54.43. The ranking was based on three factors — percentage of people in a county with small business income, proportion of that income to countywide small business income and taxes paid by small business owners.

The county had 15.93 percent small business income — the highest for any Mississippi county. 

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Lincoln had 2.19 percent small business returns, based on federal, social security, state and local income taxes. It ranked 22 statewide.

“The importance of small business to Brookhaven and Lincoln County cannot be overstated,” said Garrick Combs, executive director of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Development Foundation. “Almost all of the Chamber of Commerce’s programs are designed to support small business and are in turn supported by small business. Girls Night Out, Christmas Open House, Hometown Bucks and more could not exist without the small business community of Brookhaven and their willingness to work together to boost each other.”

The success of the area’s small businesses primarily due to the owners’ commitment and an encouraging business environment, Combs said. 

“The small businesses of Brookhaven and Lincoln County succeed foremost because of the hard work and long hours that our local business owners put into their restaurant, store or boutique and also because of the support that our locals show for our small businesses,” Combs said. “We try to provide the best possible environment for small business to succeed; the chamber and our city and county elected officials try to make almost every decision with the impact of our business community in mind.”

Marion County had stronger returns than Lincoln County (34.27 percent) and a higher index of 60.52, but a lower income percentage, 14.04. 

Copiah County had returns of 25 percent, income of 10.62 percent and an index of 46.07.

Other counties in the top 10 were Lamar, Alcorn, Lauderdale, Itawamba, Tallahatchie, Leflore and Pearl River.

All 10 of the top counties had the same income tax average of $9,393.

To determine how attractive a region is for small business owners, SmartAsset took the number of tax returns that report small business income and compared that to the total tax-filing population of the region. The total amount of small business income was then compared to the overall amount of income reported in the region. 

Small businesses are typically incorporated as pass-through entities, meaning the business owners pay income taxes on the company profits, rather than the company itself paying income tax. Income taxes therefore can play a major role in determining the financial success of a small business. 

All factors were then indexed and equally weighted to yield the Small Business Index. The higher the index, the higher the county ranked in the study.