2014 Best & Worst States

West Virginia Is 35th Best State for Business 2014

Corporate tax rate reductions during the past two years and additional reductions scheduled for next year, plus the scheduled elimination of the Corporate Franchise Tax by 2015, are all being accomplished while maintaining a balanced state budget.

Kentucky is the 25th Best State for Business 2014

Revenue from Kentucky tourism increased in 2013. In addition, corn farming generated over $1 billion in revenue last year, while grain farming contributed 43,000 jobs and $31 million in revenue. Also, the price of horses is on the rise again, after taking a painful dive during the recession.

Massachusetts is 46th Best State for Business 2014

Massachusetts is considered one of the seven best states for startups. Cambridge, home to Harvard and MIT, ranked as the No. 4 metro on the Kaufmann Index for high-tech startup density, and entrepreneurs brewed by those educational institutions often stay in and around Boston. In addition, Massachusetts ranked No. 25 overall by the Tax Foundation, while the Suffix University Index (based in Boston) ranks the state business climate No. 1 in the country.

South Dakota is 15th Best State for Business 2014

Topping Bankrate.com’s Best States for Retirement, CNBC says that North Dakota has a lot going for it, including a low cost of living, crime rate and taxes and quality healthcare. Home to Mount Rushmore, the cost of living is more than 18% lower than the national average, according to published reports.

Alaska is the 32nd Best State for Business 2014

Alaska is considered a “best state” for startups. Since Alaska has no individual income or state-level sales taxes, more entrepreneurs are burning the long, midnight oil in the land of the midnight sun. That qualified it for the No. 4 spot in the Tax Foundation’s latest State Business Tax Climate Index. Last year, the state cut taxes for small businesses earning $222,000 or less, and oil-tax simplification will give Alaska a great economic advantage. The state tied for No. 4 in the three-year Kaufmann Index.

Florida is the 2nd Best State for Business 2014

“We’ve learned from Texas how to tell our story better and it helps that we’ve cut taxes 25 times, by about $400 million,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott told Chief Executive magazine. “When companies like Hertz, Amazon, Deutsche Bank and Verizon add jobs here, it causes more people to look at us. Business is comfortable that we’ll keep the tax base low and improve our workforce.”

Alabama Is the 17th Best State for Business 2014

Alabama’s GDP growth was up 1.2% in 2012 vs. 2011, while its unemployment and tax rates were both less than the national average. The Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama is predicting a 2.4% output growth rate for 2014, which would, in turn, generate 25,000 jobs.

Utah is the 13th Best State for Business 2014

Utah’s population is growing faster than the national average, and the government has created the “Envision Utah” plan to manage that growth productively.

Montana is the 31st Best State for Business 2014

Montana had a lower ranking than all four of its border states. Idaho came in at 28th; North Dakota was 12th; South Dakota 15th and Wyoming 18th. It’s 2.1% GDP growth is lower than the national average, but so are its unemployment and tax rates (5.2% and 8.6%, respectively.)

How CEOs Grade the Best/Worst States: 2014

Here's a look at how our CEOs graded the states for this year's survey. For additional reference are other important state statistics.
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