Chief Executive Magazine Announces the Results of its 10th Annual CEO Poll, Ranking the Best and Worst States for Business


Chief Executive Magazine Announces the Results of its
10th Annual CEO Poll,
Ranking the Best and Worst States for Business


Texas is the Best State for Business for the 10th year in a row,
followed by Florida and Tennessee;
Worst are California, New York and Illinois


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEGREENWICH, CT, May 8, 2014 – For the tenth year in a row, CEOs rated Texas as the No. 1 state in which to do business, according to Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best & Worst States for Business survey, released today. Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina rounded out the top five. The states rated worst for business are California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey. The rankings are crucial, as CEO sentiment drives investments in offices, factories and other facilities that bring jobs to a region.


5 Best States for Business Rank 2014
Texas 1st
Florida 2nd
Tennessee 3rd
North Carolina 4th
South Carolina 5th

Source:  Chief Executive magazine/

5 Worst States for Business Rank 2014
California 50th
New York 49th
Illinois 48th
New Jersey 47th
Massachusetts 46th

Source:  Chief Executive magazine/

TheBest & Worst States Survey gauges the sentiment of CEOs on a variety of measures that the CEOs themselves have viewed as critical. These include the tax and regulatory regime, the quality of the workforce, and the quality of the living environment.  Five hundred CEOs participated in the 2014 survey.

Not surprisingly, Texas got great reviews from respondents. “Texas is the best state for business and I don’t see anything to slow [it] down,” one CEO said. “The education and quality of eligible employees is excellent right now. Business is booming and growing quicker and more rapidly in 2014 than any other year. It’s an exciting time in Texas.”

California received more negative comments than any other state. CEOs said California’s poor ranking is the result of regulatory red tape, high taxes and a generally negative attitude toward business. “We dread doing business in California,” one CEO responded. “State regulations duplicate federal regs, especially in Safety. In addition to MSHA and OSHA, we have to comply with CALOSHA. No other state has a similar system.”

Similar sentiment was echoed about New York, where there are “too many taxes,” as well as “too much regulation and too much government corruption.”

Missouri was the biggest gainer this year, rising nine spots to 22nd from 31st, followed by Iowa, Nebraska, Delaware and Kentucky, which all rose four notches. Missouri lawmakers recently approved the launch of an economic development office in Israel for the purpose of building partnerships there with businesses in biotech, agriculture and other emerging fields.

Looking across the last five years, Louisiana rose the most, moving from 40th to 9th since our 2010 survey. “The state of Louisiana has made significant progress in recent years in providing an excellent environment in which businesses can operate,” one CEO responded.

Kansas fell seven spots to 26th. Despite the reduction, however, the state received reasonably high praise from respondents. “Kansas just went to zero income tax on Sub S income; great idea which may not last,” one CEO said. “[It’s] excellent for business owners to have extra capital to reinvest in their businesses by lowering income taxes. In my opinion, we are on the lower end of regulation and bureaucracy. What really separates Kansas … is the excellent work ethic … the employees make the business.”

The best states for biotech companies included California, Maryland, Indiana, North Carolina and Utah, while Alaska, California, Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts and Texas were all considered good states for startups.


2014 Biggest Gains Positions Gained
Missouri +9
Iowa +4
Nebraska +4
Delaware +4
Kentucky +4

Source:  Chief Executive magazine (


2014 Biggest Losses Positions Lost
Kansas -7
Idaho -7
Montana -7
Oklahoma -6
Ohio -5

Source:  Chief Executive magazine (



“High taxation is the chief impediment to attracting new business, and the states that rank as the best for doing business are those with lower corporate and income tax rates,” said Marshall Cooper, CEO of Chief Executive magazine and “However, the holy grail comes from combining that with quality workforces and living environments. But this is not rocket science. Every state can improve if they engage with business leaders and find out what they need to create new, high-quality jobs for citizens.”

For complete results, including individual state rankings on multiple criteria, CEO comments, methodology and more, please visit


About Chief Executive

Chief Executive Groupproduces Chief Executive magazine (published since 1977), e-newsletters/online content, and conferences and roundtables that enable top corporate officers to discuss key subjects and share their experiences within a community of peers.  The Group also facilitates the annual “CEO of the Year,” a prestigious honor bestowed upon an outstanding corporate leader, nominated and selected by a group of peers.  Visit  for more information.



J.P. Donlon
Editor in Chief
Chief Executive magazine
[email protected]


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