North Carolina is industry friendly

Published 1:48 am Wednesday, January 23, 2008

By Staff
It should really come as no surprise that top business and industry executives view North Carolina as one of the most attractive states in the country in which to do business. For as much as we may dwell on what isn’t right here, we do have a lot going for us.
In the latest survey by Chief Executive magazine, some 605 top executives were asked to evaluate their states on a broad range of issues, including proximity to resources, regulation, tax policies, education, quality of living and infrastructure.
CEOs were also asked to grade each state based on the following criteria: taxation and regulation, work-force quality and living environment.
North Carolina came in third behind Texas and Nevada, two states that don’t have an income tax. North Carolina ranked fourth in the 2007 survey, but replaced Florida this year. The Sunshine State dropped to 10th place.
So what’s so attractive about North Carolina?
North Carolina got a “B plus” for taxation and regulation and work-force quality and “A minus” for living environment.
In a way, North Carolina is in a Catch-22. While CEO’s like the idea of comparatively lower taxes, they criticized the status of the education system and wanted better infrastructure, two things that might require a higher tax rate to address.
Texas scored strong in all three categories: It received an “A minus” in the taxation and regulation category and a “B plus” in the other two categories.
Nevada got an “A” for taxation and regulation, but received a “B minus” in work-force quality and a “B” for living environment.
California was ranked as the worst of all states in which to do business. It received a “D” in taxation and regulation, and a “B minus” in both the work-force quality and living environment categories.
Similar to California, the majority of CEOs in New York called for lower taxes, less regulation and less government spending as well as more business-friendly policies.
Additionally, CEOs were very vocal about their discontent with New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, indicating that he had done nothing to improve conditions for businesses in New York since he took office. Some CEOs went as far to say that the “governor is a liability” and “has a hostile image toward business.”
Should North Carolina radically change the way it does things based on one survey? Of course not. The Chief Executive survey can be viewed as a snapshot of how some leaders view the business environment. But it is a magazine that reaches 42,000 CEOs, and it has a total readership of 228,000 people.
The CEO survey isn’t the only one that points to good things in the Tarheel state. In November, Site Selection magazine named the state number one for its business climate. And it wasn’t simply because the state spends money to help businesses.
To use a tired expression, industries aren’t looking for a handout, they’re just looking for a hand. It appears North Carolina is doing just that.