Winning States Offer Low Taxes, Generous Incentives, and Fewer Regulations
Eric Stavriotis, Senior VP, Strategic Consulting, Jones Lang LaSalle, comments on the results of Area Development's 2012 Top States for Doing Business survey of location consultants.
Eric Stavriotis, Senior Vice President, CBRE, Inc. (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
The survey data for overall business environment attractiveness is aligned with where we are seeing the most corporate real estate new location announcements. Despite strong job growth in places like Michigan and Ohio, most of the industrial and manufacturing new location announcements, in particular, have been coming from states in the Southeast. It's notable that all of the top 10 states for overall business environment in support of manufacturing - with the exception of Indiana - are located in the Southeast or Southwest.

The states that are winning are those that have advantageous combinations of low taxes, [generous] incentives, and [fewer] regulations, and most offer predictable, stable political environments. This is typically coupled with an attractive balance of labor cost and availability. The Top States also make it easy for companies to do business by offering fast-track permitting and other business-friendly practices.

While the Southeast has attracted the most industrial and manufacturing concerns, not all companies need to be in the Southeast to operate their businesses. In fact, we see a huge opportunity for other U.S. regions to improve their policies concerning business retention and attraction. While it can be politically difficult and can take years to enact right-to-work laws or change the state tax structure, states can adopt fast-track permitting, tax incentives for business, new or updated incentive programs, or other business-friendly policies within one or two legislative cycles. States that raise their game now - and aggressively promote their pro-business reputations - will significantly benefit in the future.