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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.

Fall 2012
Top States for Doing Business Full Results: 2012 Top States for
Doing Business Survey


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


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


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

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.
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