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States React to Poor Rankings from CEOs

While there were clear winners in Chief Executive's Best/Worst States for Business, it was also clear which states have fallen out of favor with CEOs. Those who ranked poorly had something to say about it. Some saw the results as a catalyst for change while others disagreed with CEO opinions. Here's what they had to say.

Chief Executive magazine’s Best/Worst States for Business issue has signaled distress for many states who found themselves at the bottom of the list. Those who have fallen out of favor with America’s CEOs had a variety of responses: some denied any problems while others saw the ranking as an opportunity for change.  Here are some highlights:


State Assemblyman Dan Logue: “From January 2008 to December 2010, Texas added more than 165,000 jobs while during the same time period, California lost 1.2 million jobs. For me and many of my legislative colleagues, we saw these numbers as an indication that Texas was doing something right in job creation and California was doing something wrong. That is why we visited Austin to listen to and learn from Texas policymakers such as Governor Rick Perry about how they were able to create jobs during tough economic times.” Full article here

Labor Federation’s Steve Smith: “This survey is little more than corporate honchos throwing around their weight to try to further strip working people of important protections that improve lives…According to America’s CEOs, what’s good for workers and the environment doesn’t really matter…For CEOs, it’s all a matter of dollars and cents. The fewer regulations there are to deal with, the more money they can slip into their own pockets. Even at a time when corporate profits and executive bonuses are soaring, CEOs want more. Even though excesses on Wall Street and corporate boardrooms created the financial debacle that cost millions of jobs, CEOs want more. They’re not content with the millions they rake every year, so they’re trying to tear down some of the few protections workers have left to make themselves even richer….So, here’s a message for CEOs:  Stop whining. Start acting more responsibly…You’re nothing without the hard work of your employees.” Full article here

California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski: “A survey of CEOs ranking business climate is like having a survey of bank robbers ranking bank security… For them to have the audacity to slam California’s necessary environmental and workplace protections shows just how out of touch CEOs are with the realities facing our families.” Full article here


The Chicago Tribune Op-Ed: “llinois is marked as unfriendly to employers. And [Governor] Quinn’s retention packages for the squeakiest wheels won’t reverse that broader picture. Especially when the state: can’t pay its overdue bills or stop running up its debt — twin signs of chronic mismanagement, doesn’t reform public pensions or retiree health care. That failure threatens employers with still more tax hikes to pay for gazillions in unfunded obligations, and refuses to fix its workers’ compensation system, and reduce the regulatory and other costs of doing business here.” Full article here

New Jersey

Philip Kirscher, President of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association: “I think it’s undeniable that the business climate has improved in New Jersey. I think things are going well, but it does take some time to change a reputation or perception that has been around for a long time.” Full article here

Choose New Jersey CEO Tracye McDaniel: “New Jersey really doesn’t have a reality problem, it has a perception problem.  And it’s time to change that… New Jersey has all the ingredients an international company needs to be successful… I think the opportunity for us to move that needle is occurring.  It’s not going to happen overnight. There is always a default to old tapes — people say the same things over and over again, and it kind of gets stuck there, that repeat.  We are going to have to change it.” Full article here


Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Vice President Gene Barr: “It is unfortunately not surprising that, compared with other states, Pennsylvania is viewed unfavorably by business and industry decisions makers because of our lack of legal reform, having the highest effective corporate tax rate in the United States, and other drains on competitiveness. Pennsylvanians deserve a business climate that is conducive to economic and job growth, not a continuation of the status quo that has reinforced a negative view of the Commonwealth’s attractiveness to job creators.” Full release here


Cascade Policy Institute Senior Policy Analyst, Steve Buckstein: “Oregon doesn’t have either of these two most important business-friendly policies [no income tax and right-to-work laws]. Not only do we have an income tax, but it’s the highest in the country at 11 percent right now. And, we allow forced unionization.  Oregonians, and their elected representatives who are looking for ways to improve our business climate and create jobs, need look no further than these two policies. Eliminate our income tax and end forced unionism, and watch Oregon grow.” Full article here


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