Close this search box.
Close this search box.

The Biggest Gains: Rhode Island, Michigan

Rhode Island and Michigan gained the most from last year's Best and Worst States for Business ranking.


The two states that made the biggest gains from last year’s Best and Worst for Business ranking:

Rhode Island

Rhode Island America’s smallest state jumped the most of any in the 2018 Best & Worst list because over the last three years, Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo and the state’s legislature, economic development and business communities finally decided enough was enough. The state eliminated or cut consumption, energy sales, unemployment insurance and other taxes and maintained the region’s lowest corporate income tax. It also overhauled government pensions and has been heavily promoting the changes. CEOs noticed. “This has resulted in 22 companies landing or expanding in Rhode Island in the last two years and more than 30 real estate deals,” says Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island’s secretary of commerce. “Now there are construction cranes all over the place.”


Brembo North America is nearing the 1,000-job level at its brake manufacturing complex in western Michigan, and CEO Dan Sandberg says it’s because the state didn’t take the operation for granted. “We got incentives in the beginning and lots of location support, from the power grid all the way to improving the roads next to our plant,” he says. “When you build a gray iron foundry in this day and age, you need cooperation with the environmental authorities and everyone else.”

Michigan streamlined its business-tax structure at the beginning of the eight-year tenure of Gov. Rick Snyder, which ends this year. And the state continues on that path, eliminating the personal property tax; launching a platform to attract the largest investments, such as those it missed out on in Foxconn and Amazon’s second headquarters; initiating a huge plan to recruit and retain STEM workers; and passing legislation aimed at making it easier to transform urban “brownfield” sites into new enterprises. The results: 540,000 new private-sector jobs, an unemployment rate at about the national average and rising per capita income, says Jeff Mason, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “It’s proven to be an effective strategy.”

The complete listing for the Best and Worst States for Business can be found here.


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.