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Florida No. 3 state for business

For the seventh year in a row, CEOs rate Texas as the No. 1 state in which to do business and California as the worst. North Carolina maintained its No. 2 rank, while Florida rose three positions to the No. 3 spot. Last year it was sixth. Tennessee fell one slot from last year to No. 4 while Georgia climbed two positions to claim the No. 5 rank.

Chief Executive Magazine’s annual “Best & Worst States” survey takes the pulse of CEOs on business conditions around the nation. For the 2011 survey, 550 CEOs from across the country evaluated the states on a broad range of issues, including regulations, tax policies, workforce quality, education resources, quality of living and infrastructure.

“A handful of states have made business-friendly policies a priority,” says J.P. Donlon, Editor-in-Chief of Chief Executive magazine and ChiefExecutive.net. “These forward-thinking states are the exception rather than the rule and include Utah, Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.”

CEOs voted California as the worst state in 2011, with New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Michigan rounding out the bottom five.

“ABC — Anywhere But California,” said T.J. Rodgers, CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, a $668 million chip maker headquartered in San Jose, California, and with plants in 10 countries. “It’s expensive, it’s hostile to business, and environmental regulations are more of a drag on business than protecting the environment.” Cypress Semiconductor’s headcount in California peaked at 1,500. It’s now down to about 600.

With finances in shambles due to the weak economy, many states have been increasing tax rates.

“Today’s ‘soak the rich’ mentality hits business leaders especially hard,” says Marshall Cooper, CEO of Chief Executive magazine and ChiefExecutive.net. “CEOs and entrepreneurs vote with their feet — and also pack up jobs and investment with them when they leave.”


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