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What’s New in the “Top 5” States for Business

Even though many of these states are repeats from prior year’s top 10 lists, no community, just as no business, stood still over the last year. Here’s what changed for these states that CEOs need to know.

1. Texas. After seeing what support of a religious freedom bill has done to other states’ economies, Texas businesses are currently siding with LGBT activists to fight potential 2017 legislation. According to, Texans have a lot to lose if Bruce Springsteen backs out of his Dallas concert or the state loses the Super Bowl or the NCAA Final Four next year.

Equity crowdfunding is now available in Texas, but is off to a slow start. Startups have raised just $1.2 million for 24 projects or businesses—just one-fifth of what they were hoping for, according to the Star-Telegram. But in May,the Securities and Exchange Commission is adopting new interstate crowdfunding rules that could accelerate the use of the micro-investment system, the newspaper said.

Finally, Texas’ high-speed rail project could be one step closer to securing the $12 million funding it needs to move forward after winning the Urban Land Institute’s “Next Big Idea” award. So far, $105 million in capital has been raised, according to the Dallas Business Journal.

2. Florida. The Sunshine State added 1 million private-sector jobs over the last five years, cut taxes 50 times and got rid of 4,200 burdensome regulations. In 2014, it surpassed New York as the third-biggest state for companies to flourish. Currently, the chambers of commerce for two of South Florida’s biggest business hubs—Miami and Ft. Lauderdale—are considering a move that can help bridge economic gaps between them, the South Florida Business Journal said.

Carnival Cruise Lines, which is headquartered in Miami, recently took delivery on a new ship, the ms Konigsdam, placed an order for 5 more ships to be received by 2020. In addition, the cruise conglomerate is already booking cruises to Cuba. Meanwhile, Lufthansa, Europe’s largest airline, according to the South Florida Business Journal, has leased space in Florida. The airline services three cities, including a route from Frankfurt to Tampa, which it launched in 2015.

In addition, a green textile manufacturing firm will relocate from New Jersey to Florida, bringing with it 20 jobs.

3. North Carolina. North Carolina business leaders, upset over “mounting economic losses,” have demanded the repeal of the bathroom law, CNBC reported. The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce estimated tens of millions of dollars in losses since the law passed, including decisions by PayPal and Deutsche Bank to halt adding a combined 650 jobs in the state and canceled performances by Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Pearl Jam, Boston and Cirque du Soleil. $5 million in trade show business is currently at risk. In addition, A&E and Fox are threatening to stop filming in the state.

On a separate note, Xerox announced 139 layoffs in North Carolina, as a result of plans to make “big changes” to its government healthcare business.  

4. Tennessee. The country music state is proving to be a great state for startups. Launch Tennessee, the state-funded venture capital fund and agency, announced recently that private investment in early stage companies based there has surpassed $1 billion in the past four years, ahead of its 2017 goal. In first quarter of 2016 alone, there were 9,546 new business filings, according to the Tennessee Quarterly Business and Economic Indicators report.

And Business Insider reports that General Motors will be investing $470 million into its Tennessee plant.

In addition, Tennessee’s 4.5% March unemployment rate was down  0.4 percentage points from February, and is the lowest for the state since June 2oo7, according to The Commercial Appeal. 

5. Indiana. The Southwest Indiana Regional Development Authority is the first of three regional winners to sign a contract with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. The RDA was created is part of a process that will open up the region to as much as $42 million in state matching funding for quality of life and talent attraction projects, according to Inside Indiana Business.

Meanwhile, new business is rolling in. Canadian manufacturer Canature WaterGroup is locating its U.S. headquarters in Carmel, Indiana, and will add to the already 680+ new jobs that other companies, including Allied Solutions, have brought to the region.

Healthcare and medical tech are also strong economic providers for the state. Warsaw, in the northeast, is nicknamed the ‘orthopaedics capital of the world,’ and generates more than $11 billion in economic impact in the region.

Review the entire 2016 Best & Worst States for Business survey, including individual state rankings, CEO comments, methodology and more at



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