Top States Commentary: Low Costs, Favorable Business Climates, and Right-to-Work Environments Propel Top States
Kathy Mussio, Managing Partner, Atlas Insight, LLC (Fall 2012)

Top States for Doing Business
OVERALL RANKINGS
2012

1.  Texas
2.  South Carolina
3.  Georgia
4.  Alabama
5.  North Carolina
6.  Louisiana
7.  Tennessee
8.  Indiana
9.  Mississippi
10.  Oklahoma

2011

1.  Texas
2.  Georgia
3.  Alabama
4.  South Carolina
5.  Indiana
6.  Louisiana
7.  North Carolina
8.  Tennessee
9.  Mississippi
10.  California

2010

1.  Tennessee
2.  Texas
3.  South Carolina
4.  Alabama
5.  Georgia
6.  Indiana
7.  Mississippi
8.  North Carolina
9.  Virginia
10.  Oklahoma

BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
overall business environment

1.  Texas
2.  South Carolina
3.  Alabama
4.  Louisiana
5.  North Carolina

NEXT BEST
Indiana, Mississippi,
Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma

COST OF DOING BUSINESS

1.  Texas
2.  Alabama
3.  South Carolina
4.  Louisiana
5T. Indiana
     Mississippi
     North Carolina

NEXT BEST
Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Virginia

CORPORATE TAX ENVIRONMENT

1.  Texas
2.  Nevada
3T. Florida
     South Dakota
4.  Alabama
5T. South Carolina
     Virginia

NEXT BEST
Indiana, Wyoming

INCENTIVES PROGRAMS

1.  Texas
2.  Louisiana
3.  South Carolina
4T. Alabama
     Georgia
5.  Oklahoma

NEXT BEST
Indiana, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee

CORPORATE STATE GOVERNMENT

1.  Louisiana
2.  South Carolina
3.  Alabama
4.  Texas
5.  Indiana

NEXT BEST
North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arizona

SPEED OF PERMITTING

1.  Texas
2T. Alabama
     Mississippi      South Carolina
3T. Georgia
     Louisiana

ACCESS TO CAPITAL & PROJECT FUNDING

1.  Texas
2.  California
3.  North Carolina
4.  Massachusetts
5T. New York
     Ohio

LABOR CLIMATE
Overall labor Climate

1.  Georgia
2T. North Carolina
     South Carolina
3.  Alabama
4.  Texas
5.  Louisiana

NEXT BEST
Michigan, Mississippi, Florida, Oklahoma, California, Indiana, Arizona

Availability of Skilled Labor

1.  Michigan
2.  Texas
3T. California
     North Carolina
4.  Ohio
5.  Georgia

NEXT BEST
New York, Massachusetts, Indiana, Virginia, Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey

Competitive Labor Costs

1.  Alabama
2.  South Carolina
3.  Mississippi
4.  Georgia
5.  North Carolina

NEXT BEST
Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky

Leading Work Force Development Programs

1.  Georgia
2.  South Carolina
3.  Louisiana
4T. Alabama
     North Carolina
5.  Oklahoma

NEXT BEST
Florida

INFRASTRUCURE & GLOBAL ACCESS
OVERALL INFRASTRUCURE & GLOBAL ACCESS

1.  Tennessee
2.  Georgia
3.  South Carolina
4T. Indiana
     Texas
5.  Illinois

NEXT BEST
North Carolina, Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky, California

Rail & Highway Accessibility

1T.  Illinois
     Indiana
2T. Georgia
     Ohio
     Texas
3.  New Jersey
4T. California
     Missouri
     Tennessee

Certified Sites or Shovel-Ready Programs

1.  South Carolina
2.  North Carolina
3.  Tennessee
4.  Alabama
5.  Indiana

NEXT BEST
Georgia

Competitive Utility Rates

1.  South Carolina
2T. Alabama
     Mississippi
     Tennessee
3.  Georgia
4T. North Carolina
     Oregon
5T. Kentucky
     Washington

NEXT BEST
Utah

Distribution/
Logistics Hub Access

1. Tennessee
2. Illinois
3T. Georgia
     Texas
4T. California
     Indiana
5.  Ohio
     Washington

NEXT BEST
Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia

LEADING in the ECONOMIC RECOVERY

1.  Texas
2.  Louisiana
3T. Indiana
     North Carolina
4T. Georgia
     Michigan
5T. Florida
     Ohio
     Oklahoma
     South Carolina
     Virginia

NEXT BEST
California, Tennessee


CONSULTANTS COMMENTARY
Winning States Offer Low Taxes, Generous Incentives, and Fewer Regulations
Eric Stavriotis, Senior Vice President, Strategic Consulting, Jones Lang LaSalle
States With Deep Pools of Skilled Workers Come Out on Top
Scott Redabaugh, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle
It comes as no surprise to those of us who work closely with corporate relocations and expansions that the states most often mentioned at the top of each of Area Development's 2012 Top States for Doing Business rankings share three attributes: each is relatively low cost, has a favorable business climate, and is right-to-work. These three factors continue to be important for many of the projects that our clients are undertaking. While it should be noted that crucial factors vary on a project-by-project basis, for the purpose of this short commentary, I chose to focus on those that have concerned many of our clients and projects in recent years: cost and overall business climate.

While there are exceptions, states with low business costs are more often considered and end up winning more projects than states with comparatively higher business costs. While not every state has the ability to address and fix its higher costs - due to lack of leadership and/or the political will - those that can tackle these often hot-button topics frequently reap positive, quantifiable results.

Indiana is a great example, as the pro-business policies attributable to its leadership under Governor Mitch Daniels led Indiana to become the 23rd right-to-work state. We have anecdotally heard about an increase in its pipeline for potential new projects, which makes sense considering that roughly 30 percent of projects eliminate non-right-to-work states as a location choice during their first screening.

At Atlas Insight, we have worked on projects in every single one of the states listed in the 2012 Top States for Doing Business. There is a reason why these states consistently make the Top 10: cost and a favorable overall business climate.

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