For the third straight year — since Forbes started giving the honor — the magazine has named Virginia the best state for doing business.
Virginia remains an excellent location for new or existing businesses. It has the best regulatory environment by our count, thanks to the second-best incentive programs in the country–as well as the fifth best tort atmosphere. Other high points include energy costs 30% below the national average and an educated labor force fueled by its proximity to Washington, D.C., and top colleges like (sic; should be "such as") the University of Virginia and William and Mary.
The rankings "measure states on six main areas of importance: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects, and quality of life." ("Measure" is a strong word — most of those are subjective. But still.)
Business costs are weighted the most, but low costs were not enough to keep Louisiana and West Virginia from being the bottom two in our ranking.
Still, we can’t rest on our laurels. Our lead over #2 Utah is "razor thin." [Snarky rationale for Utah’s high score deleted.] Plus, "Driven by higher labor costs, business costs in Virginia jumped, and are now approaching the national average."
And the big story, per Forbes, is Georgia, which has jumped from 15th to 5th place. Major lessons to be taken from those peach-eaters: Think international. Georgia has been doing it for a while, including opening an economic development office in Seoul 22 years ago. Result: Kia Motors is going to open a $1.2 billion car manufacturing facility in West Point, Ga. that will employ 2,500 people directly, "and another 5,000 or so workers will be needed for the numerous auto suppliers popping up around the Kia site."
Georgia has also opened offices in Beijing, Mexico City; Munich, São Paulo, and Tokyo.
In an amazing coincidence (really, it is), the next issue of Commonwealth magazine will focus on — wait for it — working with immigrants. Cool, huh?