Connecticut dropped one slot closer to the bottom of the list in this year’s Best & Worst States for Business, ranked by Chief Executive magazine’s survey of more than 500 CEOs nationwide. The state was ranked 45th this year, down from #44 a year ago. Connecticut’s Northeast neighbors were mostly in the same neighborhood on the rankings list, with New York (#49), New Jersey (#47), and Massachusetts (#46) also in the bottom ten, along with Vermont, ranked #41. In the middle of the pack, Maine was ranked #30 and New Hampshire was #21.
According to Chief Executive, which is published in Greenwich, the results of the 11th annual survey show that CEOs favor states with progressive business development programs, low taxes and a quality living environment. States are measured across three key categories to achieve their overall ranking: Taxes and regulations, quality of the workforce, and living environment, which includes such considerations as quality of education, cost of living, affordable housing, social amenities and crime rates.
The top ranked states were Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada and Arizona. Texas and Florida were also ranked one-two last year. Texas has topped the list for a decade. Tennessee and North Carolina traded places from a year ago.
Among the CEO comments highlighted by the publication: “A difficult tax structure like the ones in New York or Connecticut makes incentive-giving easy, but penalizes existing businesses. The climate for coming is better than the climate for staying.”
Of a maximum five stars in the CEO ratings, Connecticut received 1.5 for Taxation and Regulations, 3.0 for Workforce Quality and 3.0 for Living Environment. The data used in determining the states' rankings included state GDP for 2013 vs. 2012, the unemployment rate in December 2014, state debt per capita in 2013, and state-local tax burden. Key companies in the state highlighted by the website reporting of the survey include General Electric Company, Xerox Company, Aetna Corporation, The Hartford, and Stanley Black & Decker.
Indiana ranked first in the Midwest and sixth nationwide as the best place to do business. It was the only Midwestern state ranked in the top 10. Among neighboring states, Kentucky ranked 28th, Ohio ranked 22nd, Michigan ranked 43rd and Illinois ranked 49th. Among the largest moves up the list were Idaho (from #28 to #18), Pennsylvania (from #42 to #35), Iowa (from #19 to #13) and Maine (#36 to #30).
Chief Executive magazine is a bi-monthly publication for top management executives published by the Chief Executive Group LLC., founded in 1977, and headquartered in Greenwich. According to the publication, state governments use the survey results to help determine how to improve their regulatory environments to attract more businesses, while corporations use the data to decide where to build facilities and attract vibrant workforces.
Last fall, Connecticut economic development officials and leading companies were featured in videos touting the state's efforts to attract and retain businesses.