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Utah ranks 13th in best states to do business survey

Published: Tuesday, May 13 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Pedestrians walk on Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City Tuesday, May 7, 2013. Salt Lake City and Orem-Provo have been listed by Forbes as some of the best cities for jobs.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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A recent survey conducted by Chief Executive magazine ranked each of the 50 states for its relative attractiveness for business. A wide range of factors were considered by the over 500 CEOs who responded to the survey.

Some of the key considerations in the overall ranking process included the cost of living, the quality and availability of public education and health care, and the quality of the available workforce. Additional factors included in the assessment were the corporate and personal tax policies of each state and the level and complexity of the government regulations pertaining to creating and growing businesses.

Topping the list of 50 states was Texas in the same ranking it achieved in the prior year’s survey. Right behind Texas was Florida. At the bottom of this year’s and last year’s lists were New York and California at 49th and 50th, respectively.

Various statistics were reported for each of the 50 states. When viewed from the perspectives of each state’s Gross Domestic Product, unemployment rates, migration, state level debt and state and local tax burdens, those states generally deemed most attractive by the CEOs surveyed also reported positive comparisons on most of these factors as compared to those states deemed less attractive for businesses.

To achieve the overall ranking of 13th, Utah scored relatively well in each of three major ratings categories. In the workforce quality category, states such as Virginia, Iowa and Texas scored slightly better. In the category of living environment, those states scoring better than Utah included Florida, Hawaii and South Carolina. Utah tied with North Carolina in this category. Utah’s lowest relative ranking came in the taxation and regulation category. Although much better than the average of the 50 states, Utah was outscored by states such as North and South Dakota, Tennessee, Wyoming, Florida and Texas.

Utah did fairly well in this survey focusing on best states in which to do business. There are some areas for relative improvement. An overall theme reported from the results of this survey was the states focused on decreasing government intervention in business and on seeking to minimize burdensome regulations have generally outperformed other states from an economic perspective.

Kirby Brown is the CEO of Beneficial Financial Group, which is based in Salt Lake City.

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