Virginia is for [business] lovers


Forbes has its new listing of most business-friendly states, and the winner isn't even a state; it's a commonwealth. Here's the top 10:

1 Virginia
2 Texas
3 North Carolina
4 Utah
5 Colorado
6 Idaho
7 Nebraska
8 Delaware
9 Florida
10 Georgia

And the bottom ten:

41 Pennsylvania
42 Hawaii
43 Rhode Island
44 Illinois
45 Michigan
46 Maine
47 Alaska
48 Mississippi
49 West Virginia
50 Louisiana

Beware of these lists with their many variables. Nick Gillespie wondered why the freest states are the ones nobody wants to live in.

NEXT: More Thots (Sic) on George Allen's Moron- and/or Maroon-icity

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  1. Not sure about the segue–the top ten states on this list look okay, give or take a few states. Certainly, enough people are moving to Number 9 to sink us into the ocean.

  2. Texas is an excellent place to do business. Firstly, there’s no shortage of real esate. Secondly, there are a lot of people here. Thirdly, there isn’t a state income tax, the minimum wage isn’t higher than the federal one, and Houston doesn’t really have zoning laws.

  3. Tim,
    I’m sorry, but Forbes is like the People magazine of the business world. It is complete crap eaten up by low level yuppie life whores.

  4. Timothy,

    Depends on whether you sell vibrators or not.

  5. Oh yeah, I didn’t read the article, but given the states listed, I suspect this is a list of the best places to incorporate in. This is not the same as the best place to do business in.

  6. Lots of people want to live in Texas and Florida. That said, I sure don’t, I want to live in #7 but everyone mocks me.

  7. Lots of Texans seem to want to live in Colorado.

  8. The “freest” states are the ones that also are the least free when it comes to imposing upon the people the will of God, er, society’s view of what’s right. Otherwise, these are great states to open up shop because they will lure you with tax breaks (Corporate welfare), and you probably won’t have many competitors in the area to steal your talent, and your workers won’t be unionized.

    I wonder, if NY is so god-awful for business, why is it the financial capital of the world? Why do lawfirms have a hard time hiring a top quality lawyer outside of New York? If NY is so terrible, why does merit flock to the city?

  9. Those last three on the list are tort hell-holes
    for doctors, employers and anyone else with deep pockets.

  10. Tim,
    I’m sorry, but Forbes is like the People magazine of the business world. It is complete crap eaten up by low level yuppie life whores.

    Sounds like someone who edits for Fortune 😉

  11. I’ve seen an awful lot of commercial flight from New York to take that statement as anything other than Big Apple puffery. And, other than securities lawyers, the “top quality lawyer” remark is a completely nonsensical statement. Otherwise, I agree 🙂

  12. I thought Nevada was supposed to be one of the best states to do business in? no income tax AND no corporate tax.

  13. Lamar:

    Yeah, I’ve always wondered about that too. California (aka Taxifornia) is also supposed to be a statist nightmare for business people, yet its also one of the most powerful and innovative economies on earth- high tech, entertainment, real estate, oil, imports, communications, research- that place has it all. What gives?

  14. Certainly, enough people are moving to Number 9 to sink us into the ocean.

    After twenty-seven years in the state, I’ve come to sympathize with all the crackers that were railing against all the godamn yankees when I first came here.

  15. I’ve thought about moving to Delaware. Anyone know of a reason why I shouldn’t?

  16. Kip,

    True, NV has no income tax, but a fairly high sales tax (7.5% – 8% except on unprepared (supermarket) food and medicine) and one of the least educated populations (measured by high school graduates) in the country. It’s also expensive to insure and register your car here ($640 – $3400 / year).

  17. Delaware is a nice place to live (no sales tax) and a decent place to do business. It is not, however, a place where you can expect to make a serious mark on the world (unless there’s a “duPont” somewhere in your name).
    A major advantage is proximity to NY, Philly, Baltimore and DC, all easily accessable by car or Amtrak (it’s one of the last places in the country where the railroad is a viable means of transportation).
    Upstate is experiencing some serious sprawl as Wilmington swallows up the burbs. Traffic on certain highways (such as Route 202/Concord Pike) is a beeyotch.
    Downstate has some excellent beaches, but also a lot of mean-spirited rednecks. I’m sure my fellow Dela-where?-ian David Weigel would have more to say on the subject.

  18. B.P: “Lots of Texans seem to want to live in Colorado.”

    True, we like to think of CO and FL as are vacation homes.

  19. Georgia sucks but the City-states of Atlanta, Athens, and two square miles of Savannah are pretty coo’

  20. Shawn. I don’t buy the least educated population thing Because it’s measured by highschool graduates. the population of las vegas has grown so fast and most of the residents moved there from other states. most of those people moved there for jobs. That means that a large percentage of the population did not go to highschool there.

  21. “Yeah, I’ve always wondered about that too. California (aka Taxifornia) is also supposed to be a statist nightmare for business people, yet its also one of the most powerful and innovative economies on earth- high tech, entertainment, real estate, oil, imports, communications, research- that place has it all. What gives?”
    –Postmodern Sleaze

    I’d say it’s because there is no simple linear relationship between regulations and prosperity. I’m not sure what criteria Forbes used for this list, but it looks like most of the states in the top 10 have the least regulations and taxes on businesses while the bottom 10 probably have the most.

    The most successful states are probably somewhere in between, though a host of other factors inevitably must play into it. Remember, regulations and taxes, when used properly, protect people and ensure fair business practices.

    My fiancee and I recently moved to Arizona from New York and are amazed at how overly pro-business and anti-consumer-protection the state seems to be (I should stress the “seems,” as we’ve only been here one year). Phoenix, where we live, seems to have been built in a spasm of sprawl with no consideration for community development outside each tract suburb–the city just commanded “build at will!” and we now have a city designed to be inhabitted by cars and not people… especially if you live in the outer areas like Mesa.

    In New York, if a company tried to commit fraud against you (a regular occurence for her family), you could call up the Attorney General’s office and have things straightened out very, very quickly–this had happened multiple times. I don’t think it works that way here, and it’s one of the reasons we don’t want to stay in the state much longer than we have to. There’s no way we’d live our lives here beyond our 20s.

    And we would never move to one of the top 10 due to their reputations as well.

  22. Note the high rank of Colorado. There are those of us here who fight tenaciously to keep the government small. Although, we lost a big one with the passage of ref C which drastically mitigates our Tabor amendment, the most restrictive measure ever passed by any state to throttle government growth.

    The Republicans in our state house and senate tend to be genuine fiscal conservatives. But now the Dems have control of both of these chambers.
    If they retain these and capture the governorship as well, we are so raped.


  23. Athens, and two square miles of Savannah are pretty coo’

    Athens is where the B52s are from. What a fine band!

    (If it was Friday, I’d do one of my “Friday Gratuitous New Wave Links”. But it’s not so I won’t)…Oh what the Hell…

  24. Kip,

    You could be right, but I would have thought the low high school graduation rate was a ratio of freshmen to number of diplomas three and a half years later. After all, with the new, “tougher” proficiency exam, there are plenty of students who don’t pass, even after seven tries.

    Also, it’s not really necessary to have a high school diploma to be a valet, a busboy, a janitor, a cocktail waitress, etc. and have a decent enough income. At least it was decent enough before the Californians came in and doubled our house costs. I don’t know where all these people buying one bedroom condos for $300,000+ expect to be working, unless they came from California and that’s a bargain.

  25. Thanks for the survey, but, as a resident, I don’t think California needs any further incentive to make the bottom ten… Beware these lists indeed!

    California sucks for business! …48th in cost; 41st in regulatory environment,… What’s that? …9th in growth prospects?!

    How does 48th in costs and 41st in regulatory burden equate to 9th in growth prospects?

    ..Oh, that’s right, I forgot all about the immigration–legal and otherwise. Thank God for every immigrant we can get–those little engines of economic growth can even help us overcome regulation and taxes. We should find ways to encourage them to have more kids.

  26. Some posters here seem to miss the point it is supposed to be about best place for business, not best place for individuals to live. Thus the places that are harder to sue in may not be ideal for those who for some reason need to sue a lot. By the way, that post about getting scammed a lot in NY is not a good advertisement for NY, regardless of what the poster thinks about the attorney general.

    Many of the states listed have all sorts of different qualities of life, to each his own. Nick Gillespie’s post made it sound like the town he lived in in Texas was boring as crap, and no doubt it was. But even the cities in Texas are cheap relative to those such as LA, San Francisco, Boston, NYC, etc.

    The list also didn’t differentiate between types of businesses. Try being in the film industry in the US outside of LA or NYC. Maybe if your name is Robert Rodriguez you can get away with living and working in Austin Texas, most can’t. Publishing? NYC. Mutual Funds? You can be several places, but Boston is where most of the talent lives. Country music? Try setting up your label outside of Nashville. Ha. High tech? Silicon Valley, greater Boston, greater Austin or Dallas, Research Triangle NC are mostly where you want to be for any kind of R&D regardless of costs, although I hear there is a top software company in Washington state. Manufacturing your product (as opposed to R&D or other brainy activities) on the other hand all those high cost states suck wind.

    If you can hire everyone locally, the quality of life component can be totally scrapped assuming you (CEO) don’t have to live there too. If you sell nationwide, or worldwide, it is not clear why growth prospects matter a bit. And so on.

    But overall it seems reasonably accurate.

  27. As someone starting a business in Utah, I’d have to agree with its placement on the list. Nice pool of highly educated people to choose from who are happy with wages that would be considered moderate anywhere else, low crime, low expenses overall, a government which doesn’t get in the way and has the right attitude towards guns, incredibly beautiful landscape, and its not hard to ignore the mormons if they annoy you. They’ve just become part of the background noise for me so I don’t think about them much.

  28. Paul Graham wrote a good essay on what leads places to be prosperous like NYC or Silicon valley (the essay is specifically about techie places, but the logic extends to other kinds of economic activity). Basically, companies will do well in the places that their top talent wants to live.

  29. As someone that lives in Texas, I can state that is is definitely a good place to start a business, and that lots of people like to live here.

  30. Remember my fellow macacas, most business-friendly DOES NOT FUCKING equal most free-market

  31. 47 Alaska

    oil’s curse strikes again

  32. I’m really surprised not to see Nevada in the top ten. No corporate income tax, for one thing…


  33. Louisiana could be worse for torts. I read in the WSJ that the attorney general is not allowed to hire private law firms on contingency deals to harass business. That, and our future 37% royalties on hopefully ALL oil drilling might get us out of last place. However, 9% sales tax, 6% income tax, property taxes, crappy schools, corruption and hurricanes make LA a rough place to prosper. If not for the crabs and crawfish ,nobody would live here.

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