California Still the Worst State for Business, CEO Survey Finds

The best place in the United States to do business is Texas, and the worst is California, according to Chief Executive magazine’s 2018 “Best and Worst States for Business” survey.

Chief executive officers gave California a score of 1.48 out of 10 in “taxation and regulation,” 6.25 in “workforce quality” and 6.17 in “living environment.”

Top-ranking Texas is followed by No. 2 Florida and, in a tie, No. 3 North Carolina and South Carolina, according to CEOs. Indiana ranked fifth.

Ranking just ahead of California were No. 49 New York, No. 48 Illinois, No. 47 New Jersey, No. 46 Connecticut and No. 45 Massachusetts.

“Seem familiar? That’s because those are the exact same positions each of these states has occupied in each of the last four years in our annual poll of CEOs about business climates,” Chief Executive wrote.

“The top states recognize how truly important it is to maintain the business-friendly cultures that helped them grow dynamically even during the slow-go years following the Great Recession,” the publication stated.

“The fact that Indiana is generally a state ‘open for business’ is kind of accepted,” said Parker Beauchamp, CEO of INGUARD, an insurance and risk management firm of about 50 people headquartered in Wabash, Indiana. “It’s been good enough for long enough that people just kind of know there’s no shenanigans, no running hot and cold. It’s a very solid, all-around state.”

Texas has held the No. 1 spot for each of the 14 years since the inception of the Chief Executive survey.

“Texas has no corporate or personal state tax,” said Bill Hall, CEO of Ultravision International, a Dallas-based LED lighting manufacturer. “And Texas gives us very highly skilled workers because of the number of great colleges we have.”

Florida “is a very good place to do business, with relatively low regulations and relatively low cost of labor, a good university system and low cost of living with no income taxes,” said Jeff Vinik, a real estate investor in the Tampa Bay area.

The situation could get worse for states ranking near the bottom, Chief Executive said, as federal tax reforms are felt.

“The exit numbers of companies and owners are going to be higher, because people won’t be able to deduct as much in property and income taxes,” said Michael McGuire, CEO of Grant Thornton. “They’re being taxed into oblivion.”


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