Both Red and Blue states lead in business friendliness; Illinois trails

(Illinois News Network) – Illinois ranked 28th in CNBC’s annual list of “America’s Top States for Business,” far behind other states in the Midwest.

CNBC’s scorecard on state economic climate ranked states on competitiveness to show their ability to attract businesses. The list has both Republican-model and Democrat-model success stories at, or near, the top. But even highlighting its strengths, Illinois was in the bottom half of the rankings.

The comprehensive ranking of states is based on their ability to lure and retain businesses. It used more than 60 metrics to compare the states against each other. The most important were workforce, infrastructure, and cost of doing business.

Texas came out on top, scoring high marks on everything, save quality of life, where it ranked 36th.

Robert Allen is the president of the Texas Economic Development Corp. Appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott last year, Allen said the Lone Star State’s business-friendly regulatory environment is unmatched, allowing small businesses to become big businesses.

“Those are the seeds that need to be taken care of because they’re gonna grow,” he said. “It’s very important to just give them the needed tool and then just get out of the way.”

With a top corporate tax rate of 9.8 percent but scoring high marks for quality of life, education, and infrastructure, Minnesota was No. 1 in 2015 and placed sixth this year.

Michael Langley, CEO of the Greater Minneapolis St. Paul Economic Development Partnership, said it’s about the investment.

“We like to call it a high-value model,” he said. “Continuing to invest a lot in education, invest a lot in infrastructure and quality of life issues but we know that we pay for it.”

At 28th, Illinois has many attributes that the top states in the ranking share, but budget woes and business regulations continue to hold it back.