The Biggest Losers can Still Attract Business

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Portland, Oregon at night

Some states lost more ground than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re not competing. Indeed, one CEO survey respondent had this to say about Oregon, which fell five slots, from No. 39 last year to No. 44 in 2017: “Oregon, with the presence of huge companies like Nike and Precision Castparts Corp. pumping billions of dollars into the economy, wouldn’t surprise me if they were in the top 10 GDP of the entire country.”

Wyoming moved down the most—10 slots, from No. 14 to No. 24. However, for the fifth year in a row, Wyoming ranked No. 1 in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index. In addition to its lack of corporate and income tax, Wyoming also has no inventory, franchise, occupation or value-added taxes. The state also offers tax exemptions for manufacturers and data centers.

Businesses headquartered in Wyoming include Bighorn Airways, Buckskin Mining Co., Great Lakes Airlines, Suncor Energy Pipeline Co. and Taco John’s.

“With the presence of huge companies like Nike and Precision Castparts Corp. pumping billions of dollars into the economy, it wouldn’t surprise me if Oregon was in the top 10 GDP of the entire country.”

Other states on the Biggest Losers list include Washington, which fell eight slots, from No. 31 to No. 39; North Dakota, which fell six slots, from No. 22 to No. 28; and Alaska, which fell four slots, from No. 30 to No. 34.

But here’s something you might not know about these states:
The development of the Bakken shale oil fields in the western part of North Dakota has fueled the state’s growth, and potato stocks are up 22% year over year. However, North Dakota is also suffering from constant oil spills, and they need to find a solution that includes both prevention as well as clean-up.

Washington is experiencing year-over-year growth in nearly every sector. A construction boom is driving employment gains, including a 4.6% rise in King County, which encompasses Seattle.

An oil explorer is planning a test in Alaska’s North Slope. It could prove a boon for the state if he is successful. Also, Anchorage’s local government is exploring ways to grow and reform the sluggish downtown area, and could be ripe for a making a deal.

How CEOs choose the right state for their business can include a number of factors, such as proximity to customers, suppliers, talent and infrastructure. However, taxation, workforce quality and quality of living continue to be the top factors.

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert
Katie Kuehner-Hebert has more than two decades of experience writing about corporate, financial and industry-specific issues. She is based in Running Springs, Calif.

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