Southern governors receive high marks for jobs, investment

Texas Gov. Rick Perry S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley Florida Gov. Rick Scott
Texas Gov. Rick Perry S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Staff Report
Published Dec. 12, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — Three of the top five governors rated by fDi magazine for their efforts to encourage job creation and direct foreign investment hail from the South.

The magazine, a publication of London-based Financial Times, ranks Rick Perry of Texas at the top. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley ranked No. 3 and Gov. Rick Scott of Florida is No. 4.

Top 10 Overall
A financial magazine ranked U.S. governors on effectiveness in attracting jobs and economic development.

1. Rick Perry, Texas
2. Jerry Brown, California
3. Nikki Haley, South Carolina
4. Rick Scott, Florida
5. Chris Christie, New Jersey
6. Deval Patrick, Massachusetts
7. Dave Neineman, Nebraska
8. Butch Otter, Idaho
9. Sam Brownback, Kansas
10. Martin O’Malley, Maryland

Source: fDi magazine Governors Awards 2012

The inaugural award was decided by a compilation of greenfield investment data from fDi markets as well as a survey that asked state governors about strategies for attracting businesses with the answers judged by fDi magazine’s editorial team.

Perry received credit for helping create some 300,000 jobs that the Lone Star State has added between July 2009 and July 2012.

Perry, who’s in his 12th year as governor, also drew praise for attempting to diversify Texas’ economy to include more than promoting oil companies.

For example, Perry has pushed for investment in medical research.

“There are only a few states that put more money into basic medical research,” Perry told the magazine. “So the potential to take that research and commercialize it now is a really big message out there.”

Editors also lauded Perry’s goal to make Texas the most pro-investment state in the U.S.

“We get out of the way and let businesses do what they do best,” Perry told the magazine. “I will remain committed to upholding principles, like low taxes, restrained spending, reasonable regulations and a fair legal system.”

Though Haley ranked No. 3 in the overall standings of governors, she also ranked No. 5 in “best strategy” for economic development. South Carolina was ranked sixth among states for recruitment of foreign investment.

“It’s exciting to see more folks sit up and take notice of what’s going on here in the Palmetto State,” Haley said. “More and more companies from around the globe are learning the benefits of doing business in South Carolina, and we make an effort to meet with international firms and show them why our state is the place to invest their capital.”

Florida’s Scott ranked fourth overall and No. 1 for having the best economic development strategy.

The magazine recognized Scott’s efforts to directly contact CEOs and encourage them to invest in Florida.

“As governor, I’ve led six trade and business development missions with the single purpose of increasing Florida’s international investment and trade and getting Florida back on the right track,” Scott said. “As more companies invest in Florida, there will be more jobs for Floridians.”

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