Various think-tanks, foundations and economic development groups release a steady stream of state rankings based on various criteria – assessing their tax climates, classifying them as high-tech hot spots or manufacturing meccas, attempting to measure their attractiveness to college grads or creating other assorted indices of economic vitality.
It would be easy to be overwhelmed by the volume of these reports, or driven to distraction by their ‘horserace’ aspect. There are often valuable data included in these studies, the challenge is finding them and putting them in proper analytical context.
Having said all that, it may be appropriate to give special weight to the opinions of those who actually make business relocation decisions and have the authority to bring new jobs and investment to a location. That’s why it was noteworthy that Indiana was ranked as the best place to do business in the Midwest, and sixth best nationwide, in a survey of more than 500 CEOs by Chief Executive magazine.
The magazine’s seventh annual “Best & Worst States” survey asks these corporate leaders to evaluate states based on business tax policies, regulation, workforce and livability factors. Indiana’s 2011 ranking is up from 16th place in 2010, making us one of the fastest-moving states in the survey.