Industries

Where do CEOs like to do business?

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For the ninth year in a row, CEOs rate Texas as the No. 1 state in which to do business, according to Chief Executive magazine's annual Best & Worst States Survey.

Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana also made this year’s top five. Virginia came in at No. 7, slipping one spot from its No. 6 ranking in 2012. The magazine noted in its critique of Virginia that “business hails new infrastructure spending but not resulting tax increases.”

The states rated worst for business are California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

The Best & Worst States Survey conducted by the Greenwich, Conn.-based publication, measures the sentiments of CEOs on a range of issues, including regulations, tax policies, work-force quality, educational resources, quality of living and infrastructure.

For the 2013 survey, 736 CEOs from across the country evaluated the states between Jan. 16 and Feb. 14.

Ohio was the biggest gainer in this year's survey, rising 13 spots from No. 35 to No. 22. "Ohio is doing some amazing things to attract and support a pro-business environment," Don Taylor, CEO of Fairlawn, Ohio-based Welty Building Co. said in a statement. The biggest loser was Delaware, which dropped 13 spots to No. 27.

CEOs in the survey said California's poor ranking is the result of a perceived hostility to business, high state taxes and onerous regulations, all of which drive investment, companies and jobs to other states. According to the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, California accounts for 12.6 percent of total U.S. GDP (gross domestic product), but only has a 2.2 percent share of investments in new and expanding manufacturing sites.

A common theme among CEOs is the burden of constantly changing regulations. "CEOs continue to tell us that California seems to be doing everything possible to drive business from the state. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, by contrast, personally makes it his mission to lead corporate recruitment and economic development efforts in his state," said J.P. Donlon, editor-in-chief of Chief Executive and ChiefExecutive.net.

"The playbook for successful states boils down to three simple moves: engage in real dialogue with business leaders, adapt policies to create an attractive environment and effectively communicate your story to real job creators," said Marshall Cooper, CEO of the magazine and ChiefExecutive.net.


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