S.C. moves up to No. 5 in CEO ratings

Staff Report
Published May 12, 2014

South Carolina ranks as the fifth-best state in which to do business, according to Chief Executive magazine's annual Best & Worst States for Business survey.

The Palmetto State, which moved up from No. 8 in 2013, drew four stars, the magazine’s top rating, for taxations and regulations, workforce quality and living environment, the annual survey of CEOs showed.

South Carolina’s development trend indicator registered a “neutral” rating. The magazine recognized that the state has managed “to boost highway infrastructure spending without penalizing business.” Last year the General Assembly approved $100 million in additional transportation spending, some of which will be leveraged in borrowing for road projects.

“South Carolina and Texas seem to be very pro-business, a good environment to start or bring a business to,” one unidentified CEO commented in the report.

Another CEO noted South Carolina’s ability to attract “very heavy foreign investment,” such as BMW and Michelin, and its “rapidly growing aerospace sector” that has drawn Boeing Co. and more than 200 other aerospace companies.

Other states in the top five are Texas, Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina. The states rated worst for business are California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

The survey gauges the sentiment of CEOs on a variety of measures that the CEOs themselves have viewed as critical. These include the tax and regulatory regime, the quality of the workforce and the quality of the living environment. Five hundred CEOs participated in the 2014 survey.

The rankings are crucial, as CEO sentiment drives investments in offices, factories and other facilities that bring jobs to a region.

"High taxation is the chief impediment to attracting new business, and the states that rank as the best for doing business are those with lower corporate and income tax rates," said Marshall Cooper, CEO of Chief Executive magazine and ChiefExecutive.net. "However, the holy grail comes from combining that with quality workforces and living environments. But this is not rocket science. Every state can improve if they engage with business leaders and find out what they need to create new, high-quality jobs for citizens."

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