Skip to comments.Texas Is America's Top State for Business 2012
Posted on 07/11/2012 5:05:07 AM PDT by thackney
Texas has done it again.
The Lone Star State makes a triumphant return as Americas Top State for Businessits third time at the top of our rankings.
"Listen, there is a reason that Caterpillar [CAT 80.27 -2.87 (-3.45%) ] moved their hydraulics manufacturing and their engine manufacturing to the state of Texas," said Gov. Rick Perry in November during the CNBC Republican presidential debate.
We can attest to that.
In our sixth annual study, Texas racked up an impressive 1,604 points out of a possible 2,500, with top-10 finishes in six of our 10 categories of competitiveness. Texas has never finished below second place since we began the study in 2007.
Each year, we score all 50 states on the criteria they use to sell themselves. This years analysis is the most comprehensive yet, using 51 metrics developed with the help of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness, as well as input from the states themselves.
This years categories and possible point totals are:
Cost of Doing Business (350) Workforce (350) Quality of Life (350) Infrastructure & Transportation (325) Economy (325) Education (225) Technology & Innovation (225) Business Friendliness (200) Access to Capital (100) Cost of Living (50) This years study comes amid slowly improving fortunes for the states. A recovering economy coupled with lingering fiscal restraint following the Great Recession are helping states improve their finances for the first time in years.
Revenue performance remains positive, expenditures in most states are stable and few states have faced mid-year budget shortfalls in fiscal year 2012, the National Conference of State Legislators reported in May. That means states can resume their focus on the battle for business and jobs.
In addition to the top spot overall, Texas has the nations best Infrastructure, according to our study. It improved to second place for Technology and Innovation, and boasts the third lowest Cost of Living. The state's Workforce improved to seventh best from 14th last year. Access to Capital declined a bit, but Texas still finished in the top 10 (eighth). Perhaps most impressive, the Texas economy recovered from a rare stumble last year, when it finished 14th in the category, improving to fifth this year.
Texas endured a wrenching budget crisis last year. While the state is still not out of the fiscal woods, it managed to emerge with its sterling, triple-A bond rating and stable outlook intact.
The state had to make some sacrifices though, and that hurt in some categories. Texas comes in 26th inEducation and 35th in Quality of Life. And while the state held the line on income taxes, the overall tax burden including property and sales taxes is high. That hurts Texas in the all-important Cost of Doing Business category, where it comes in 28th.
Since we began ranking the states in 2007, Texas and Virginia have traded places each year in first and second place. But the pattern was broken in 2012.
This years runner up is not Virginia but Utah, which surged from last years eighth-place finish. The Beehive State boasts low costs (11th lowest for Cost of Doing Business, sixth for Cost of Living), a world class Workforce (ninth place) and moves into the top 10 for Quality of Life. The state has seen an impressive influx of venture capital of late, jumping ten places to 13th for Access to Capital, and its Infrastructure improved to eighth place this year.
Virginia: Road to Trouble
So what happened to Virginia last years top state?
The Commonwealth is still a contender, finishing a solid third overall. But it faltered in two categories in particular: Infrastructure and Economy.
Infrastructure specifically the states perpetually clogged highways has long been an issue in fast-growing Virginia, and there is fresh evidence this year that the state is having trouble keeping pace. With some of the country's toughest commutes, the state dipped to number 33 in the category, down from 10th a year ago.
Virginias economy remains in the top tier. But it has suffered in part due to circumstances beyond its control. The states proximity to Washington, DC has helped in previous years. Late last year, however, Moodys slapped a negative outlook on Virginias otherwise pristine bond rating because of the federal governments fiscal crisis. That contributed to Virginia slipping to 10th from eighth in our Economy category this year.
While still the envy of most states, Virginia declined in a total of six categories in 2012. The other four are Cost of Doing Business (32/21), Education (13/6),Technology & Innovation (14/11) and Business Friendliness (4/3). In this competition, you cant post that many declines and stay on top or, it turns out, finish second either.
4. North Carolina
5. North Dakota
7. South Dakota
South Carolins’s economy appear robust to those with feet on the ground and eyes to see. Liars figure and figures lie.
Are you claiming to be more business friendly than those listed here?
Just because you have a good economy doesn't mean it is the best.
And Texas does it with NO corporate or personal Income Taxes.
Just a 9% state Fair Tax!
That is a lot of money just to run the State Fair.
Just a 9% state Fair Tax!
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To be clear to others, there are about 60 different taxes (including “fees”) processed by the State Government.
I believe most people are unaware of how many different taxes exist in each state.
This list is really not shocking.
I’m only shocked to not see CA leading the list... /sarcasm
There are a number of FR members from CA who are perpetually slamming TX. The current CA model is really "California Dreaming".
If this is a good economy here in Texas then I seriously don’t want to know what a bad one looks like.
I’m a small business owner in Texas and its tough right now on most people.
I’ve heard a lot of people suggesting that secession may be the only way to not get taken down with the rest of the country.
But that would take a serious showdown, and I don’t think people with that kind of balls really exist anymore. Perhaps I’m wrong.
Please keep in mind the article is not about a booming economy.
It is about which state is the most business friendly.
Some parts of the Texas economy are booming, but not all. Oil related is doing well with Eagle Ford and Permian Basin growth.
Notice that most of these are red states and the ones that aren’t red just recently turned purple after being red the last few decades from people in blue states flocking there.
I used to carpool with a guy who would fight you to the death that California was the greatest state ever. Needless to say, we didn’t get along too good when it came to politics.
In other words, Texas is great for business but it sucks to be an employee for one of those businesses...
Modern agriculture & great climate were God’s gift to CA.
High Tech was the more recent growth agent.
Greenies are destroying the AG sector. High Tech is now global. Where does that leave CA?
Surviving High Tech companies are looking for a more friendly environment. NC, TX, AL, etc.
But, TX is so culturally inferior. /sarcasm
Texas is not where you were born but a State of Heart, Mind and Attitude. (from a native who had an ancestor born in TX during the Republic)
Actually it means Education and Quality of Life measuring scales are created by someone who doesn't appreciate the Freedoms granted individuals in Texas.
I've lived in the Midwest, East Coast and Alaska. I've worked extended stays in California and other locations. By my measuring stick, the quality of life is very high.
It is a time for “reality check”.
Like it or now, it is here.
The Quality of Life category, worth 350 points, is relatively straight forward. Criteria include air and water quality, health care, crime rate and local attractions.
Based on that, it’s easy to see how sparsely populated states like the Dakotas, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming would fare well in terms of air and water quality.
Yet, Hawaii is the 13th most-densely populated state in the nation and New Hampshire not far behind at 21. Alaska, with fewer people per square mile than any other state (according to Census Department data), didn’t even make the top 25 in the category.
Attractions clearly play a role, which explains Hawaii’s perennial strong showing. Natural beauty, national parks, skiing, hiking, boating also no doubt helped Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.
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I don’t see personal freedoms or access to jobs in their description of quality of life. Those are pretty high on determining my personal quality of life, how about yours?
Those who find fault with Texas can leave, or not come here in the first place. People come to Texas, and Houston in particular, to work.
Well that explains why a lot of my clients that can pay work in the oil fields.
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