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CEOs Rank Texas No. 1 State for Business

For the eighth consecutive year, CEOs across the country have rated Texas as the No. 1 state in which to do business. According to Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best and Worst States survey, released today, Florida came in second, followed by North Carolina, Tennessee, and Indiana.

California came in as the worst U.S. state for business, according to the CEOs surveyed, followed by New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Michigan.

States were evaluated on a range of issues, including regulations, tax policies, workforce quality, educational resources, quality of living, and infrastructure.

The CEOs said California’s “hostility to business, high state taxes, and overly stringent regulations” are driving investment, companies, and jobs to other states. Chief Executive cited a study by Spectrum Locations Consultants, which found that 254 moved all or some of their work and jobs out of California in 2011—an increase of 26 percent over 2010 and five times as many as in 2009.

“CEOs tell us that California seems to be doing everything possible to drive business from the state. Texas, by contrast, has been welcoming companies and entrepreneurs, particularly in the high-tech arena,” said J.P. Donlon, editor-in-chief of Chief Executive and ChiefExecutive.net, in a statement. “Local economic development corporations, as well as the state Texas Enterprise Fund, are providing attractive incentives. This, along with the relaxed regulatory environment and supportive State Department of Commerce adds up to a favorable climate for business.”

The biggest gainer in the 2012 CEO survey was Louisiana, which moved up 14 spots to come in at No. 13; Oregon was the biggest loser, dropping nine spots to No. 42.

Inhospitable business environments mean fewer jobs, as both entrepreneurs and corporations seek cost-efficient and tax-friendly locales, said Marshall Cooper, CEO of Chief Executive and ChiefExecutive.net: “This survey shows that states that create policies and incentives are rewarded with investment, jobs and greater overall economic activity.”

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