Lisa A. Bastian (05/05/2011)
Once again, Texas topped the list of the "Best and Worst States for Business" based on a nationwide survey of 550 CEOs across the United States published by Chief Executive magazine. Each year, the publication asks key business leaders to grade states on their overall business climates in addition to numerous business climate factors, such as regulation and taxation, work force quality and living environment.
The 2011 special report, released May 3, is the seventh one produced by this national publication. Its articles and charts show how each state fares on factors most essential for a business-friendly environment - as well as what states are doing to attract/retain companies within their borders.
This year marks the seventh time in seven years that the Lone Star State [Texas] has commanded the No. 1 spot. North Carolina takes the No. 2 spot (same as last year), followed by Florida (#3), Tennessee (#4), Georgia #5), Indiana (#6), Virginia (#7), South Carolina (#8), Utah (#9) and Nevada (#10).
Among the best states, Indiana rose to sixth place (from 16th in 2010); a move giving Hoosiers the third-biggest rankings advance in a single year.
Wisconsin and Louisiana posted the two biggest gains since 2010, with the latter (along with Oklahoma|) also showing the largest gains over the last five years. "By proactively reshaping its posture toward business taxation and regulation Louisiana has been quietly stealing pages from the Texas playbook," noted the report.
Not surprisingly, states with punitive tax and regulatory regimes were punished with lower rankings - even if they had positive scores on quality of living environment. "While state incentives are always welcome," continued the report, "what CEOs often seek are areas with consistent policies and regulations that allow them to plan, as well as intangible factors such as a state's overall attitude toward business and the work ethic of its population."
That explains why Texas has consistently held the No. 1 position since 2005. It gets exemplary marks in all areas important for business creation, and boasts the second-lowest taxes in the country. Additionally, this southern state has created more jobs than any other (nearly 250,000 in 2010), and enjoys the highest inward net migration rate among all states.