More than 500 CEOs considered a wide range of criteria, from taxation and regulation to workforce quality and living environment, in Chief Executive magazine’s annual ranking of the best states for business. North Carolina ranked No. 2, behind only Texas, in the the latest report showing how each state fares on the factors most essential for a business-friendly environment.
The Tar Heel state finished in second place last year too. South Carolina jumped from No. 10 last year to No. 8 in this year’s poll.
The magazine says business leaders graded the states on a variety of categories grouped under taxation and regulation, workforce quality and living environment. “Do not overtax business,” offered one CEO. “Make sure your tax scheme does not drive business to another state. Have a regulatory environment and regulators that encourage good business—not one that punishes businesses for minor infractions. Good employment laws help too. Let companies decide what benefits and terms will attract and keep the quality of employee they need. Rules that make it hard, if not impossible, to separate from a non-productive employee make companies fearful to hire or locate in a state.”
Not surprisingly, states with punitive tax and regulatory regimes are punished with lower rankings, and this can offset even positive scores on quality of living environment. While state incentives are always welcome, what CEOs often seek are areas with consistent policies and regulations that allow them to plan, as well as intangible factors such as a state’s overall attitude toward business and the work ethic of its population.
See the full grades for each state Here.