CEO Survey: Texas Under Rick Perry Remains Best State for Business

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 04:50 PM

By Martin Gould

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Texas has held on to its position as the best state in which to do business for the eighth consecutive year, with California remaining anchored at the bottom of the chart, according to a new survey by Chief Executive magazine.

But Louisiana — which the magazine calls the “Cinderella of business improvement” — comes out as the big winner. The Pelican State leaped 14 spots from number 27 to number 13 in the annual poll. “In 2006, it ranked 47th,” the magazine says, pointing to “an active government push to reduce taxes and regulation and to encourage new industry to relocate.”

Florida is now challenging Texas for the top spot, the magazine reports, saying that Gov. Rick Scott’s administration “has enacted business tax and regulatory reforms that have contributed to the creation of more than 140,000 private sector jobs and an unemployment drop of 2.1 percentage points last year — one of the biggest decreases in the nation.”

The Sunshine State leapfrogged North Carolina for the second spot with Tennessee remaining in fourth and Indiana going up one space to round out the top five in the survey which was released on Wednesday.

“Indiana is like a breath of fresh air,” one CEO told the magazine after the Hoosier State became a right-to-work state last year. “I have operated on both coasts, the southeast and Chicago, and Indiana is where I will keep my manufacturing operations.”

Chief Executive praised Texas Gov. Rick Perry, saying that between June 2009 and July 2011, the number of jobs in the state increased by 328,000, 47 percent of the total job creation in the country.

The magazine says Right-to-Work legislation is among the most attractive assets a state can have. “Gov. Scott Walker’s battle with the unions in Wisconsin, a state that edged into the top 20 this year for the first time, demonstrates that the struggle for a pro-growth agenda can be contentious. As one Badger State business leader remarked, "Finally, Wisconsin is headed in the right direction."

The magazine says it is “perhaps no coincidence” that Texas and Florida had the highest net migration of people to their states in the first years of the 21st century. “People migrate in search of employment,” it points out.

At the other end of the list, California ranks bottom for the eighth consecutive year, with New York one place ahead. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Michigan come above them. The biggest drop of all is Oregon which falls nine spots from 33rd to 42nd.

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