Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc. released its annual ranking of top pro-business states, with Louisiana rising to No. 16 in the U.S. Louisiana has climbed 24 spots in Pollina's ranking since 2008, making it the most improved state in the country over the last four years.
Since January 2008, Louisiana has improved to its highest-ever position in every major national ranking of state business climates, including those published by Area Development, Business Facilities, CNBC, Forbes, Pollina Corporate Real Estate, Site Selection and Chief Executive.
"When I took office, we committed to improving our state's business climate to make it easier for businesses to expand in or relocate to Louisiana in order to create more jobs for our people. Our work to cut burdensome businesses taxes, overhaul ethics laws, and rein in government spending is paying off," Gov. Bobby Jindal said. "We're making incredible progress, but we're not stopping here. We will continue to improve our business climate by making our tax code fairer, flatter and simpler so that more companies want to invest and expand here, and, most importantly, so that there is more opportunity in Louisiana for our people to pursue their dreams here at home."
Pollina ranks the 50 states on 32 factors, including evaluation metrics such as business tax burdens, workforce training programs, workers compensation costs, economic development incentives, energy costs, marketing programs and state economic development efforts.
Louisiana climbed from No. 40 in 2008 to No. 27 in 2009, No. 20 in 2010 and No. 18 in 2011. The latest Louisiana advancement to No. 16 continues the state's economic momentum across a slate of third-party business climate rankings, including the Pollina report.
"Governors that should be giving advice on job creation include Governor Jindal of Louisiana," said Brent Pollina, co-author of the report. "Since taking office in 2008, Governor Jindal has pulled his state from a rank of 40th up to 16th in 2012. No other state has moved up in rank this rapidly."
Pollina scored the 50 states in two stages: Stage I evaluates labor, taxes, education and several other factors; Stage II evaluates incentive programs, including those for existing or expanding businesses and for small businesses, and the performance of state economic development agencies.
Utah ranks No. 1 in the 2012 study, with Virginia (No. 2) as the only Southern state in the Top 10. California ranked last.
Louisiana's improved ranking from 2008 to 2012 is based on a variety of factors, including the elimination of several harmful business taxes; the creation of LED's Business Expansion and Retention Group; the creation or enhancement of targeted business incentive programs, such as the new Retention and Modernization Program and the enhanced Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive; the launch of LED FastStart™; LED's enhanced website; recent economic development marketing campaigns; and improved perceptions of Louisiana among top site-selection consultants and corporate executives.
"Thanks to Louisiana's skyrocketing business climate rankings and our aggressive focus on economic development, our state continues to outperform the South and U.S.," said LED Secretary Stephen Moret. "We are particularly grateful to Gov. Jindal and the Louisiana Legislature for supporting economic policy changes that have made Louisiana more competitive and providing the tools necessary for us to successfully compete with other states for new jobs and business investment. Louisiana's economic future is very bright – and getting brighter every day. We look forward to taking another significant step forward next year when Gov. Jindal and the Legislature tackle tax reform."
Since January 2008, LED has secured economic development projects that are creating more than 51,500 new jobs, more than $12.6 billion in capital investment and hundreds of millions of dollars in new sales for small businesses across the state.
Louisiana earned State or Co-State of the Year designations from Southern Business & Development in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and Business Facilities has honored LED FastStart as the nation's No. 1 workforce training program in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Site Selection named LED the best-performing state economic development agency in the nation in 2011.
About Pollina Corporate Real Estate
Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc. is a full-service brokerage and consulting firm, representing corporations in real estate matters on a national and international basis. The firm has advised Fortune 500 clients and startup ventures in commercial real estate matters since 1981. For more information, visit the Pollina website.