It's no wonder that people from across the land and around the world still come to California seeking virtual gold.

It's still the state with some of America's greatest potential salaries, at least when it comes to small-business employment. So says personal finance site NerdWallet, which this week revealed the states that have highest-paying small-business industries.

California's arts, entertainment and recreation sector churned out the highest figure, by far, with an “average employee salary” of $277,597.48. Phew. 

At the same time, a new report from the Tax Foundation ranked California nearly last in “tax climate.”


Yeah, it might be the regular climate that's attracting billionaires to the Golden State, but the foundation this week said that we ranked 48th in the nation for the second year in a row in its State Business Tax Climate Index.

Only New York (49th) and New Jersey (50th) fared worse, according to the report.

The group explained that it judges states on “corporate, individual income, sales, property, and unemployment insurance taxes. States are punished for overly complex, burdensome, and economically harmful tax codes … “

California also ranked lowest in the nation in “individual income tax structure,” according to the foundation.

That's okay, however, if you're making $277,597.48 a year, isn't it? (Ironically, we just gave the film and TV industry nearly $1.6 billion in taxpayer money that will be spread over the next five years).

While California had the highest-paying small-business sector, the overall average small-business salary for the Golden State, $47,768.62 (less than the median household income in L.A. county), ranked us fifth nationally behind number 1 Washington, D.C. (government pays!), New York (2), Connecticut (3), and Massachusetts (4), according to NerdWallet.

Its analysts looked at U.S. Census data to come up with this ranking.

Credit: NerdWallet

Credit: NerdWallet

California's information sector ranked fourth in highest small-business salaries nationwide. It paid a healthy $148,851.35, the site said. That's still a far cry from the entertainment biz, though.

A NerdWallet rep says:

Small businesses [nationwide] created 63% of new jobs between mid-2009 and 2012 and are a great place to look for employment. 

 … It turns out that the only small business jobs that pay better than New York finance are in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry in California.

This is good news. At least someone out there can afford the ridiculous rents in this town.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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