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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 Full Results: 2012 Top States for
Doing Business Survey
»

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

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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Top States for Doing Business
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