Two pieces of news provide a flicker of hope amid the doom and gloom.
May 03--Business executives have named California the absolutely worst state for business for the eighth year in a row, says Chief Executive magazine.
Click on the photo to see the 10 best states for business according to Chief Executive magazine. Click here to see the 10 worst states on the same ranking.
The publication surveyed 650 chief executives about states based on such factors as business taxation and regulation, workforce quality and living environment. CEOs gave the Golden State four out of five stars for living environment, three stars for workforce quality but one star for taxation and regulation.
CEOs' opinions matter because they play roles in determining where a company will locate, expand or add jobs and increasingly, the competition is with other states more than foreign countries.
"California's enduring place of perpetual decline continues in this year's ranking," the publication states. "Once the most attractive business environment, the Golden State appears to slip deeper into the ninth circle of business hell.
"It's little wonder that most Silicon Valley CEOs say they won't expand in California because of high taxes and burdensome regulation," Chief Executive continues. "Intel long ago moved its plants to Nevada, and Cisco, Google and others have located their server farms to places like Utah, Arizona and Oregon."
The publication cites California's 10.9% unemployment rate, third highest in the U.S., its status as home to a third of the nation's welfare recipients. "Each year, the evidence that businesses are leaving California or avoid locating there because of the high cost of doing business due to excessive state taxes and stringent regulations, grows."
At the other end of the spectrum, Texas ranks first on the CEOs' list of best states for business for the 8th consecutive year. It has been the receiving state for Allstate Insurance's$12 million customer center in San Antonio, Caterpillar's new plants in Seguin and Victoria; eBay/Pay Pal hiring 1,000 people for its Austin facility.
Just this week, Apple Inc. agreed to add 3,600 more jobs in Austin where it already employs 3,100 people. The company is receiving approximately $35 million in tax rebates and Austin and Texas economic development grants.
CEOs were brutal in their assessment of California. Among the quotes from unnamed CEOs that Chief Executive cites:
"California -- the government is the worst in every possible way."
--"California has a great draw from a weather and location view point, but the state is so business unfriendly."
--"California, New York and Michigan...have bloated governments, are union-controlled and run significant annual budget deficits."
--"State politicians feel business and commerce are 'necessary evils' that provide the funds to enable pursuit of their misguided agendas."
--"California... has too much government who have nothing better to do than to harass businesses in the state. They need to cut the size of their regulatory bodies in half."
--"California regulations, taxes and costs will leave only tech, life sciences and entertainment as viable."
--"California has different overtime policies for its own employees vs. private sector."
--"California's taxes and ongoing changes for regulations are devastating. One never knows from day to day what new interpretation or an existing regulation or new regulation will befall your small business."
Some states are making significant changes that are impacting their ranking on this annual list. Indiana ranks 5th on the 2012 list, compared to 16th just two years ago. During the recession, Indiana has cut taxes and in 2011 became the 23rd right-to-work state.
More impressive is Louisiana, which ranked 47th in 2006 is now 13th on Chief Executive's list of best states for business. "In Louisiana there is an active government push to reduce taxes and regulation and to encourage new industry to relocate to the state," one business executive said.
On the other hand, Oregon dropped 9 spots to rank 42nd on the 2012 list. Chief Executive cites fights over health insurance exchanges, tax and regulatory fee increases.
Click here to see the 10 best states for business.
Click here to see the 10 worst states for business.
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