Survey shows Texas is still the best state for business

By Taryn Phaneuf | May 13, 2016

AUSTIN — Texas continues its reign as the best state for business, according to Chief Executive magazine’s latest survey.

The annual Best & Worst States for Business survey, announced May 9, ranked Texas at No. 1 for the 12th year in a row. The magazine asked more than 500 CEOs to rank states on their tax and regulations, workforce quality, and living environment.

Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana rounded out the top five. California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut are ranked in the bottom five.

“For the 12th straight year, CEOs across America have agreed there is no place better for conducting business than Texas,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news release. “Our winning formula is simple — low taxes, reasonable regulations and investment in a quality workforce. As governor, I will continue to promote policies that attract businesses looking to expand or relocate their operations, ultimately creating even more jobs and opportunity for Texans.”

The state ranked No. 6 in taxation and regulation, No. 5 in workforce quality and No. 10 in living environment.

The report noted that two of the state’s advantages also pose challenges. For one, the state doesn’t impose a corporate or income tax. Instead, it has gross receipts taxes, which the Tax Foundation has said are thought to be more economically harmful than corporate income taxes.

A high-speed rail project that won the Urban Land Institute’s “Next Big Idea” award, bringing it a step closer to reality. The project has raised $105 million in capital but it needs to secure the total — a whopping $12 billion — before any kind of ribbon cutting.

Still, anonymously quoted CEOs praise the state’s business climate.

“We recently relocated the majority of our (Connecticut) office to (Texas) because of the extreme difficulty of doing business in the state,” one CEO said.

Another CEO said government workers “go out of their way” to help businesses understand and follow laws.

“The taxation and regulatory environment is business friendly and allows a small business owner to make ends meet without having to indenture,” a third CEO said.

As proof of the survey’s high praise, the survey comes on the tail of three separate announcements by Abbott about companies relocating and expanding in the state.

Abbott announced that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which has about 1,200 employees in the state, will relocate its U.S. headquarters from New York to Houston. It joins several other MHI Group companies housed in and around the city.

Jamba, Inc., a health and wellness brand known for its Jamba Juice stores, also will relocate its headquarters to the state — this time to Frisco from California.

SATA Group, a high-tech components manufacturer, will add a machine plant in Brownsville — a project that could create 300 jobs and $114 million in capital investment. The plant will anchor the North Brownsville Heavy Manufacturing Campus.

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