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Top States for Doing Business 2013 Consultant Commentary: Are the Top-10 States for Doing Business Just Better at Marketing Themselves?

Consultants are no more immune to persuasive marketing than other site selectors, and the survey results may just point to the effectiveness of marketing campaigns in the top-10 states.

Q3 / Summer 2013
Reviewing the 2013 survey results, I am struck by the consistency with which the southeastern states have captured the top spots in almost every category. There can be only one of two explanations for this: either Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida indeed comprise the best locations for all manner of new jobs and investments, or these states are simply better at promoting themselves. While I have high regard for the business climate across much of the Southeast (indeed our firm just had two project announcements in South Carolina and Florida), I tend to favor the latter explanation.

The fact is that we consultants are no more immune to persuasive marketing than are any other site selectors. Yes, we have our data and our models and our years of cumulative experience; however, we also tend to be more frequent readers/viewers of the trade journals and websites that economic developers use to position their markets; and let’s face it, we are much more likely to host a southeastern delegation in our offices, and share the podium with such colleagues at conferences. What other explanation can there be when Colorado does not show up at or near the top for skilled labor availability (Denver has one of the highest concentrations of engineers in the country), or when South Carolina and Georgia are rated as having one of the most favorable corporate tax environments despite the fact that the Tax Foundation places both states well in the bottom half of its rankings? And, finally, how is that New Jersey is absent from the rankings of top state incentive programs when its BEIP program has enabled companies to benefit from as much as $50,000 in grants for each new job created, its Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit can erase between 80 percent to 100 percent of qualifying investments in the major cities, and its BRRAG incentive has been among the strongest state job retention programs in the country?

Looking at the big picture, what this survey says to me is that economic developers in the Northeast, Midwest, and even the West need to take a long hard look at the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. They are just not working very well, are they?

Top States For Doing Business 2013

  1. 1.Texas
  2. 2.Georgia
  3. 2.tSouth Carolina
  4. 4.Alabama
  5. 5.North Carolina
  6. 6.Louisiana
  7. 7.Tennessee
  8. 8.Florida
  9. 9.Mississippi
  10. 10.California
Full Rankings and Results Top State's Analysis

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