Business friendly may be the oxymoron of the new decade if recent meetings with Wall Street and the White House are any indication. But take a stroll outside the Beltway and you’ll find certain states doing all they can to let businesses “do” business, despite crushing deficits and scant revenue.
CNBC ranks all 50 states in order of most friendly to least. They look at categories such as cost of doing business, work force, quality of life, economy and others.
Alas, Rhode Island, that “biggest little state in the union,” ranks dead last, with an unemployment rate at 10.9% and a corporate tax rate almost as high. Might there be a link? We’ll leave it to politicians and pundits to answer. In the meantime, here are the Top 10 best states for business. (Check out the Top 10 Worst Tax States for Retirees on AdvisorOne.)
It’s no longer for lovers; it’s for business (or maybe lovers of business). They lost Roanoke, but regained the top spot in CNBC’s ranking. And, as the network notes, a pattern is forming:
“Virginia topped our inaugural study in 2007 with Texas at number two. In 2008, they switched positions and Texas took the title. In 2009, it was Virginia/Texas. In 2010, it was Texas/Virginia.”
The ranking highlights Virginia’s strategic location, friendly business climate and diverse economy.
Bobby Ewing’s dream sequence was a pathetic follow-up to “Who shot JR?”, but they’ve gotta be happy with a follow-up spot in this year’s ranking.
Even though it slipped from the No. 1 spot, according to CNBC, “Texas remains a business powerhouse. It remains tops in Infrastructure and Transportation, and ranks fourth in Technology and Innovation. And a surge in investment helped Texas jump to fourth place in Access to Capital from seventh place in 2010.”
3) North Carolina
They’re right next door, but worlds apart.
Fun-loving South Carolina gives us Mark Sanford and his Argentinean mistress; Gov. Nikki Haley’s reported affair with a political blogger and slam-dunk Senate candidate Alvin Greene. Boring North gives us a great work force, first rate transportation and infrastructure and a low cost of business. It’s enough to take the No. 3 spot, but who really cares?
In “A Man in Full,” Tom Wolfe’s 1998 fictional skewering of the Atlanta social scene, the author describes businessman Inman Armholster as someone “in every network worth networking with in this whole town.”
We’re banking that many businesses in Georgia haven’t read the book, or they’d run the other way. CNBC notes the workforce, transportation and infrastructure and the cost of living are reasons for the high ranking (locals would add bulldogs to the list). The state also scored relatively well in the “business friendliness” category; after all, it is the South.