Close this search box.
Close this search box.

California Ranked Worst for Business

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had a motorcycle accident recently. But he should see the even bigger train wreck that’s headed his way: Readers of Chief Executive have for the second straight year named his state as the worst in the nation for doing business. “I ran a public company in Sunnyvale, California,” said one of the 339 readers who responded to an email survey. “Never again in California. Go Texas!” Another said flatly, “We won’t do business in California at all.”

Texas once again ranked as the best state. Respondents cast 124 votes for Texas, followed by a relatively distant Nevada with 73 votes. The depth of animosity toward California was even more intense than admiration for Texas, however. Some 227 votes were cast for California as the worst state for business, followed by New York, again a distant second, with 142.

 The politically “blue states,” where state governments tend to over-regulate, are clearly going to lose more jobs as CEOs shift economic activities elsewhere. California, New York, Massachusetts and Michigan all fell into that category. As one reader put it, “The Northeast and Midwest continue to isolate themselves from the world’s manufacturing. They will continue to lose manufacturing jobs.”


Louisiana made it into the top five worst states because of the impact of Hurricane

Katrina and the slipshod recovery effort.


Among the top five best states, which all are considered “red,” the one that moved up in the rankings is North Carolina. “We operate manufacturing plants in North Carolina, California and Iowa,” said Barry D. Harper, CEO of Harper Brush Works, in Fairfield, Iowa. “North Carolina is by far the most business-friendly of the three states. It is working hard to improve its education and infrastructure.”


Asked to rank the most important attributes of a state’s business climate, 20.6 percent of respondents put work force quality at the top of the list, 18.3 percent named labor costs and 15 percent cited taxes.


Overall, CEO Confidence rose to 182.4 points in January, the highest since the magazine began polling its readers in October 2002, using 100 points as the starting benchmark.


 5 Best States

 5 Worst States

 2005 Rating  

 2005 Rating  

 Texas               1 California          51
 Nevada             2 New York          50
 North Carolina  3 Massachetts      49
 Florida              4 Michigan          45
 Georgia            5 Louisiana         38




  • 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.