Chief Executive magazine has released their 10th annual survey of CEOs concerning their views of the best states and the worst states for business. More than 500 CEOs graded states on their tax and regulatory regimes, quality of the workforce, and quality of life.
I created a graphic of the 10 best and the 10 worst. The results may surprise you:
(Just kidding — the results aren’t surprising at all.)
All states in the Top 10 have GOP governors; Seven of the Bottom 10 are run by Democrats. Those three GOP-led states in the Bottom 10 all went for Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Where does your state rank?
Trader Joe’s wanted to build a new store in Portland, Oregon. Instead of heading to a tony neighborhood downtown or towards the suburbs, the popular West Coast grocer chose a struggling area of Northeast Portland.
The company selected two acres along Martin Luther King Blvd. that had been vacant for decades. It seemed like the perfect place to create jobs, improve customer options and beautify the neighborhood. City officials, the business community, and residents all seemed thrilled with the plan. Then some community organizers caught wind of it.
There are few retail experiences worse than buying a car. Before setting foot in a dealership, I spend weeks researching makes and models, printing out price sheets and psyching myself up like I’m headed into an MMA bout.
“What if he tries to sell me the extended warranty? I’ll say no! Rustproof undercoating? Spin kick! That lease looks like a pretty good opti… Death grip!”
Despite constant promises of zero haggling and low-pressure sales, I always leave a dealership with a pronounced limp and wondering where my watch went.
In a world of one-click ordering from Amazon and iTunes, why can’t I just purchase the exact car I want on my terms? The answer is simple: Most state governments have made it illegal.
To the chagrin of Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Obama, America's favorite cream-filled snack cakes are rolling off the assembly line. After a union standoff drove Hostess Brands out of business, new owners purchased the company. They hired a non-union staff and are now sending Twinkies to retailers from coast to coast.
The Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) is unhappy with this right-to-work resurrection since it’s the union that nearly drove Twinkies to extinction. BCTGM has announced that the new Hostess Brands must immediately let them back in the bakery doors, if they know what's good for them.
“Despite the fanfare, the long-term viability of this effort is highly uncertain,” the BCTGM said in a statement Friday. “Rather than hire professional, experienced bakers who have produced quality snack cakes in the company’s bakeries for decades, Hostess management has chosen instead to hire primarily workers with little or no experience in the demanding wholesale snack cake baking industry.”
The left constantly proclaims its pro-choice bona fides, but only in one very specific area. Should you be able to choose your own light bulb, elementary school, health insurance or soft drink? All of a sudden liberals don’t appreciate choice so much.
One of the left’s many anti-choice positions is their furious resistance to “right-to-work” laws. As with so many other basic liberties, most liberals don’t trust American workers with workplace freedom — the decision to join, or not to join, a labor union.
Like many moms with young kids, Rhea Lana Riner was struggling to live on a very tight budget. While some moms were buying name-brand outfits for their children, Rhea Lana was digging through consignment stores and garage sales to find the best deals. As her kids outgrew their clothing, she would sell them at her own garage sales but couldn't earn enough to keep her budget balanced.
Frustrated by the experience, Rhea Lana decided to invite other cost-conscious moms to get together to buy and sell each other's clothes at her home. Every sale attracted more families eager to sell and buy, so she moved to larger venues. Some of the consignment moms started volunteering to help at the community events.
Hundreds of young families were helped by Rhea Lana's Children's Clothing Exchange, the poorest of whom thanked her while fighting back tears. She moved the sales online, then started franchising the process to help parents and kids beyond her hometown. Last year, 51 Rhea Lana events were held across 22 states.
Hallie Kuperman loves to dance. But what she loves even more is sharing this passion with visitors to her social dancing club, the Century Ballroom.
Hallie purchased the vintage dancing space 16 years ago, turning it into a Seattle institution. The Century Ballroom not only teaches swing, tango and the foxtrot, it also hosts cabarets and other live performances for an eclectic crowd of all ages. The club’s trendsetting owner has become a prominent and beloved figure in the community.
Business was swinging until a surprise bill arrived from Washington’s Department of Revenue. The state agency decided to reinterpret an obscure old tax, audited the Century Ballroom, and demanded a check for $92,000.
Obviously Hallie doesn’t have that kind of cash lying around, so she now faces the possibility of closure. "I am angry that we are even in this position," she said. To try to keep the doors open, the ballroom is holding a fundraiser this weekend. Here’s how she explains her frustrating predicament:
My family has deep roots in Michigan, from the frigid locks of Sault Ste. Marie to the college-town ambience of Kalamazoo. But ultimately, my parents left Michigan and eventually the Midwest in search of jobs. Jobs found in the “right-to-work” state of Arizona.
After decades away, I drove the length of Michigan a few years back, south to north and back again. Though I was stunned at the blue lakes and green trees (just the right height!), I too was stunned at the stagnation and decay. The Great Lakes State deserves a great economy and going right-to-work is a great way to get there.
For many Michiganders on the margins, their economy remains in critical condition. After years hemorrhaging jobs, money and residents under liberal leadership, Michigan's blue-state electorate sent conservatives to the Governor's office and statehouse. The new team’s first job was to stanch the bleeding. They reinvigorated the state's economy by lowering and simplifying business taxes and eliminating a $1.5 billion deficit.