California As much as many CEOs bash California’s business environment, it retains a certain momentum in economic development because of its geographic size, its large population, its location on the West Coast, and the inexorable dynamism of some of its main industries, including digital technology, movie-making, and raising most of America’s fruits and vegetables. Not even the devastating drought now afflicting California can be expected to slow the economic juggernaut too much.
Finally, under Governor Jerry Brown, the state is trying to make some attempts to reach out to aggrieved owners of existing businesses and to outside companies. Its new California Competes Tax Credit initiative, launched last year to replace the poorly performing Enterprise Zone Program, is aimed at “high-value” businesses growing in the state. And California officials noted that the state added 498,000 jobs in 2014 and 1.7 million since 2011 when Governor Brown took office.Among the state’s biggest economic development projects last year was a decision by Boeing to expand its engineering/design facility in Seal Beach, with 1,000 of the projected 1,500 jobs coming from Washington State. Also, Amazon has opened fulfillment centers in Redlands and Moreno Valley, California, strengthening the online retailer’s regional presence. Initial plans were to hire around 1,500 workers at the two new facilities.
2014 Top Projects: California
Population: 37.69 Million
|1.||UPS||Ontario Airport||N||700||$289 million||Logistics|
|2.||Osisoft||San Leandro||E||350||$15 million||Technology|
|3.||Boeing||Seal Beach||E||1,500||$30 million||Engineering/Design|
|4.||Amazon||Redlands & Moreno Valley||N||1,500||$195 million||E-Commerce|
|5.||Illumina||San Diego||E||300||$50 million||Life Sciences|
|6.||Petco||Rancho Bernardo||E||263||$84 million||Hdqtrs.|
|7.||CSI Tubular Products, Inc.||Fontana||N||105||$15.6 million||Flat Rolled Steel|
|8.||Underground Elephant||San Diego||E||100||$25 million||Technology|
|10.||Superior Farms||Dixon||E||100||$16 million||Food Processing|
FloridaFlorida Governor Rick Scott is so confident of the rising appeal of his state as a business location that he took the very aggressive step of openly traveling to Philadelphia in February to pitch Florida to business leaders in the City of Brotherly Love, just weeks after new Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf took office. “I’m going to make it so that companies can prosper better in Florida than anywhere else in the world,” Scott told Area Development.
So far, so good. Florida leapfrogged over North Carolina and Tennessee to grab the No. 2 spot in the 2015 rankings of “Best & Worst States for Business” by Chief Executive magazine, and Scott said he wants “to make sure Florida is the No. 1 state for doing business.” The state “cut taxes 40 times in 2014 and will cut another $673 million in taxes in 2015,” he said. “We also have cut 3,100 regulations since I’ve been in office, including streamlining the permitting process.”
More companies took notice in 2014, especially in the manufacturing arena that Scott has been trying to emphasize. The biggest win for Florida was a new Northrop Grumman plant in Brevard County where the company will make the new B-2 bomber. In exchange for investing $500 million and creating 1,800 jobs, the company got nearly $21 million in state incentives.
2014 Top Projects: Florida
Population: 19.55 Million
|1.||Northrop Grumman||Brevard||N||1,800||$500 million||Aviation/County Aerospace|
|2.||Telemundo Communications Group, Inc.||Miami-Dade County||E||150||$260 million||Regional Hdqtrs.|
|3.||International Paper Pensacola Mill||Escambia County||E||12||$123.2 million||Paper Mill|
|4.||FedEx Ground||Marion||E||165||$122.9 million||Distribution/County Logistics|
|5.||Lockheed Martin||OrangeCounty||E||200||$82.4 million||Mission Systems & Training|
|6.||Trader Joe’s||Volusia County||N||450||$78 million||Distribution/Logistics|
|7.||Edge Aerodynamix, Inc.||Bay County||E||120||$77.9 million||Aviation/Aerospace|
|8.||U.S. Tennis Assn.||Orange County||N||154||$60 million||Regional Hdqtrs.|
|9.||General Electric Oil & Gas||Duval County||N||500||$56 million||Oil & Gas Industry Products|
|10.||FedEx Ground||Polk County||N||29||$43 million||Distribution/Logistics|
New YorkThe state has been filling TV airwaves over the last year or so with advertisements for its Start-Up NY campaign that features major incentives — such as 10 years without paying taxes — for new and expanding businesses that locate on or near eligible university or college campuses. And sure enough, one element in the state’s ability to land the 3,000-employee SolarCity “gigafactory” for Buffalo last year was the winning site’s affiliation with the Start-Up NY program.
CEOs still point out that New York’s overall tax structure for most companies, and most individuals, remains onerous. But a spokeswoman points out that Governor Andrew Cuomo has been “implementing a comprehensive economic development strategy” since 2011 that has “achieved dramatic progress” resulting in, among other things, the creation and retention of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Empire State.
Indeed, the diversity of New York’s 10 listed economic development wins in 2014 bespeaks an economy with great appeal to business decision-makers. For instance, a new Pratt & Whitney turbine-coating plant in Middletown brings an investment of $140 million and 100 jobs, with groundbreaking slated for mid-2015. And a $96 million investment in an expansion of an existing Gap distribution center in Fishkill will bring 1,200 jobs to the state.
2014 Top Projects: New York
Population: 19.57 Million
|1.||SolarCity GigaFactory||Buffalo||N||3,000||$5 billion||Solar Panels *|
|2.||Pratt and Whitney||Middletown||N||100||$140 million||Aerospace|
|3.||Valeant Pharmaceuticals/Bausch & Lomb||Rochester||E||112||$200 million||Optical Products|
|4.||Dealertrack Technologies||North Hills||N||357||$100 million||Software Development|
|5.||The Gap||Fishkill||E||1,200||$96 million||Distribution|
|7.||Ferguson Enterprises||Coxsackie||N||95||$40.5 million||Distribution|
|8.||Praxair - Technical Center||Tonawanda||E||22||$38.8 million||Engineering/R&D|
|9.||Etsy||Brooklyn(NYC)/Hudson||N||340||$37.8 million||E-Commerce Hdqtrs.|
|10.||Media Math||Manhattan (NYC)||N||1,000||$12.1 million||Mktg./Advertising|
PennsylvaniaAlthough Pennsylvania remains a high-tax state, it has moved up seven spots to 35th on Chief Executive’s “Best States/Worst States” list. And Governor Tom Wolf told Area Development that he is “a different kind of governor — one who has built and run a successful business.”
The state did face big challenges in 2014, including a $2 billion budget deficit and a crisis in education. Wolf promised to “take the state government in a new direction with a strategic focus on making Pennsylvania an engine for economic development and a magnet for private-sector entrepreneurs who will create good, high-wage jobs and grow the middle class.”
Wolf’s hopes are reflected in the new, $1.2 billion, 59-story skyscraper that is rising on Arch Street in Philadelphia. It’s being erected to house Comcast’s Innovation and Technology Center when it is finished in 2017 and to provide 1,500 new jobs. None of the state’s other listed 2014 projects comes close to that impact; but typical was a plan hatched by Nordstrom to spend nearly $77 million to build a new fulfillment center, with 369 jobs, in West Donegal Township.
2014 Top Projects: Pennsylvania
Population: 12.77 Million
|1.||Comcast Corp.||Philadelphia||N||1,500||$1.2 billion||Mass Media|
|2.||zulily Inc.||Bethlehem||N||1,200||$26.8 million||E-Commerce|
|3.||Proctor & Gamble||Shippensburg||N||1,000||$93 million||Consumer Goods|
|4.||The Vanguard Group||Malvern||N||850||$60 million||Financial Services|
|5.||FedEx Ground||Jackson Township||N||500||$25 million||Distribution/Logistics|
|6.||Nordstrom, Inc.||West Donegal Township||N||369||$76.6 million||Fulfillment Center|
|7.||Dietz & Watson||Philadelphia||E||158||$35.6 million||Food Mfg.|
|8.||American Wire Research Inc.||Wilmerding||N||150||$28.9 million||Welding Wires|
|9.||General Electric||Findlay||N||50||$32 million||Digital Fabrication Technologies|
|10.||Martin’s Pastry Shoppe||Chambersburg||N||50||$62.8 million||Food Mfg.|
2015 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States
- South Carolina
2015 Silver Shovel Awards
8 to 12 Million Population Category
- North Carolina
5 to 8 Million Population Category
3 to 5 Million Population Category
Under 3 Million Population Category
2015 Gold & Siver Shovel Awards: Projects of the Year
|Solar City||Buffalo, NY||3,000||$5B|
|General Electric||Cincinnati, OH||1,400||N/A|
|Volkswagen of America||Chattanooga, TN||2,200||$600M|
|Giti Tire||Chester County, SC||1,700||$560M|
MethodologyArea Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize states for their achievements in attracting high value investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs in their communities. We collected information from all 50 states about their top-10 job-creation and investment projects initiated in 2014 (only those projects that actually had monies invested, “broke ground,” began an expansion, started new hiring, etc. were considered). Based on a combination of weighted factors — including the number of new jobs to be created in relation to the state’s population, the combined dollar amount of the investments, the number of new facilities, the diversity of industry represented — five states achieving the highest weighted overall scores are awarded Area Development’s 2015 Gold Shovels in five population categories: 12+ million, 8+ to 12 million, 5+ to 8 million, 3+ to 5 million, and fewer than 3 million. Runners up in each of these population categories are awarded 2015 Silver Shovels.