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Published: Thursday, 5/3/2012

Best-for-business poll: Ohio 35th, Mich. 46th

BLADE STAFF

Ohio and Michigan again rank in the bottom half in a survey of top executives measuring the best states in the United States in which to do business.

This is the eighth year that Chief Executive magazine has polled chief executive officers. In all eight years, Texas has ranked as the best state for businesses and California has been ranked last.

Ohio was ranked 35th in the poll, up from 41st in 2011.

Michigan ranked 46th, meaning the executives thought only four states had worse business environments.

The magazine surveyed 650 CEOs in January and February.

The magazine pointed out that most states in the Top 20 are "right-to-work" states, which limit the role of unions.

Michigan was given only two out of five possible stars in the "taxation and regulations" category. It got three stars for "work-force quality" and "living environment." One anonymous CEO was quoted by the magazine as saying that Michigan has a "ridiculous amount of red tape to start a business."

But more than one executive said things were improving in the state, with one crediting Republican Gov. Rick Snyder for backing major business reform and reduction of regulatory red tape.

Another cited the well-trained and well-educated work force, reasonable housing prices, and "Midwestern charm."

Likewise, CEOs said Republican Gov. John Kasich is making Ohio more business-friendly. But one said the state relies too much on attracting big companies with lots of jobs.

Ohio got four of five possible stars for "work-force quality" and three of five stars for "taxation and regulations" and "living environment."

Louisiana has shown the most improvement in recent years, according to business executives. It has gone from 47th in 2006 to 27th in 2011 and now 13th. CEOs said the state has reduced taxes and regulations, improved work-force training, and offered more economic incentives for businesses to move there.

 

The best and worst states for businesses, as ranked by CEOs surveyed for Chief Executive magazine. (Number in parentheses is 2011 rank.)

1. Texas (1)

2. Florida (3)

3. North Carolina (2)

4. Tennessee (4)

5. Indiana (6)

35. Ohio (41)

46. Michigan (46)

47. Massachusetts (45)

48. Illinois (48)

49. New York (49)

50. California (50)



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