Florida: A Business-Friendly State

We must be doing something right. A growing number of national surveys portray Florida as a business-friendly state growing in popularity.

Consider this: More than 500 CEOs evaluated a wide range of criteria, from taxation and regulation to workforce quality and living environment, in Chief Executive’s annual ranking of the best states for business.


Florida jumped from 6th place in the 2010 survey to 3rd place in 2011. Texas came out on top, for the seventh year in a row. California ranked the worst state for business, also for the seventh consecutive year. (Georgia ranked 5th and Alabama came in at 26th.)


The survey prompted Florida Gov. Rick Scott to issue this warning to Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

“I must tell you: Seven years is long enough … And with all we are doing to make Florida number one in job creation, I am certain Texas’ days at the top are numbered. Florida is eliminating job-killing regulation, reducing the size and cost of government, and making sure we have the best educated workforce. We have no personal income tax and are phasing out the business tax, starting with eliminating it entirely for half the business that paid it. Florida is definitely on the road to be number one. Thank you for giving us the motivation we needed.”


Florida’s key metrics considered in the survey:

Taxation and Regulations

» State corporate income tax rate: 5.50%

» Highest personal income tax rate: None

Workforce Quality

» High school diploma or more: 85.2%

» Bachelor’s degree or more: 25.8%

» Advanced degree or more: 9.0%

» Patents per 100,000: 16.06

» Employed represented by unions: 6.9%

Quality of Life

» Hospitals per 10,000: 0.114

» Elementary/secondary schools per 1,000 people: 0.198

» Violent crimes per 100,000: 694.76


Florida doesn’t rank quite as high in a CNBC survey, but we’re still up in the top 20 states, tying with Tennessee for 18th place. We moved up from 28th place in 2010.


All 50 states were scored on 43 measures of competitiveness with input from business groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness. The categories were weighted based on how frequently they were mentioned in each state’s economic development marketing materials. Basically, the states were ranked based on the criteria they use to sell themselves. The top five of the Top States for Business were: 1. Virginia; 2. Texas; 3. North Carolina; 4. Georgia; and 5. Colorado. When it comes to Florida’s educated (and available) workforce, we’re No. 2. But when it comes to education? Not so hot. No. 35. (Georgia rates much higher than we do when it comes to schools.)


DID YOU KNOW? Florida ranks 3rd among the states for veteran-owned businesses, behind California and Texas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Floridahad 176,727 veteran owned businesses in 2007, or 7.2 percent of the national total.