Updated March 28 at 6:28pm
ECONOMIC indicators

R.I. ranks 39th for businesses


GREENWICH, Conn. – Rhode Island ranked 39th on Chief Executive magazine’s annual list of the best and worst states for businesses.

The Ocean State fell four spots from its 35th place ranking in 2011. According to the report, Rhode Island “puts big burdens on business” as it struggles to escape its fiscal woes.

The states were rated after a survey measuring the sentiment of CEOs on business conditions around the nation.

For the 2012 survey, 650 CEOs from across the United States evaluated states on issues including regulations, tax policies, workforce quality, educational resources, quality of living and infrastructure.

Rhode Island scored a 2.55 on “taxation and regulation,” a 5.79 on “workforce quality” and a 5.89 on “living.” All scores were out of 10.

Comparatively, Texas – the No. 1 state in the nation for business for the last eight years – scored a 8.58 on “taxation and regulation,” a 8.05 on “workforce quality” and a 7.94 on “living.”

California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan were named the five worst states for businesses in the U.S.

California scored 1.74 on “taxation and regulation,” a 5.82 for “workforce quality” and a 6.73 for “living.”

“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,” J.P. Donlon, editor-in-chief of Chief Executive magazine said in prepared remarks.

Massachusetts, which was rated the fourth worst in the nation, scored 2.33 on “taxation and regulation,” 6.39 on “workforce quality” and 5.89 on “living.”

Even with its four-slot decline since in rank, Rhode Island’s business climate wasn’t the worst affected in the country. Oregon dropped nine spots to 42 in 2011 and Kentucky and New Hampshire each dropped eight spots.

Louisiana’s business climate saw the biggest improvement over the year. The Pelican State jumped 14 spots to 13th on the 2012 list.

“Inhospitable business environments mean less jobs, as entrepreneurs and established corporations seek more cost-efficient and tax-friendly locales,” said Marshall Cooper, CEO of Chief Executive magazine and ChiefExecutive.net.

“This survey shows that states that create policies and incentives are rewarded with investment, jobs and greater overall economic activity,” added Cooper.

To view the complete rankings, visit chiefexecutive.net.


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