Tags: Texas | business | states | CEO

Texas No. 1 on 'Best-for-Business' State List for CEOs

Monday, 24 May 2010 12:59 PM

By Dan Weil

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Texas ranked as the No. 1 state for business in a recent survey of CEOs published in “Chief Executive” magazine.

Closely following in the poll of 651 CEOs were North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Nevada. Rounding out the top 10 were Florida, Georgia, Colorado, Utah, and South Carolina.

As for the bottom of the barrel, California led the way, followed by New York, Michigan, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

“Texas is pro-business with reasonable regulations, while California is anti-business with anti-business regulations,” one CEO told the magazine.

The CEOs ranked states in three main categories: taxes and regulation, skill of the workforce, and quality of living.

Perhaps not coincidentally, nine of the top 10 — Colorado is the exception — are among the 22 right-to-work states in the country, meaning that state law forbids forcing employees to join a union to be able to work. Meanwhile, all five of the states the CEOs ranked on the bottom do not have such laws.

In addition, six of the 10 states CEOs like rank below the national median for household income, while four of the bottom five are above the median.

Texas is where 70 percent of all new U.S. jobs created since 2008 are based, according to “Chief Executive.” The Lone Star State’s tax credits and incentives for businesses that move or expand there are among the most generous in the country.

So it’s no wonder that CEOs like Texas.

“You feel like state government understands the value of business and industry to create jobs and growth,” one CEO said.

As for the golden state, “California is terrible,” one CEO said.

“Even when we’ve paid their high taxes in full, they still treat every conversation as adversarial. It’s the most difficult state in the nation. We have actually walked away from business rather than deal with the government in Sacramento.”

Bill Dormandy, CEO of San Francisco medical device maker ITC, said, “California has a good living environment but is unfavorable to business and the state taxes are not survivable. Nevada and Virginia are encouraging business to move to their states with lower tax rates and less regulatory demands.”

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