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June 16, 2024

Florida ranks second best state for business

Florida remains the second-best state for business, according to this year’s annual ranking published by Chief Executive Magazine.

Texas ranked first, which it has every year since the survey began in 2001. California remains the worst state for business, a rank it’s also held for years.

In its “Best & Worst States for Business Survey of CEOs,” the magazine published the findings of its annual survey of nearly 700 CEOs, company presidents, and business owners in every state.

Florida’s high ranking is due to the “consistently business-friendly approach under Governor Ron DeSantis that crested during the past couple of years with his hands-off approach to Covid shutdowns,” the magazine says. “While Gov. Ron DeSantis’ bold moves in the past year often went against CDC guidelines and the national consensus, there’s a strong case that it has helped the state’s economy weather the storm.”

Despite Texas holding the top spot, Florida outranks Texas in many categories cited.

Florida ranks 4th in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, the report notes; Texas ranks 11th. When it comes to quality of life, the magazine ranks Florida 10th and Texas 31st.

When it comes to unemployment, Florida’s 3.2% seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was lower than Texas’ 4.4% and the nation’s 3.6%.

“The Sunshine State has landed several notable projects in the past year,” the report notes. They include IT consulting firm Synergy Technologies, which added 300 new jobs with its expansion in Jacksonville, and Scotlynn USA, a logistics subsidiary of a Canadian company, which opened a new U.S. headquarters in Fort Myers.

They also include companies that moved their headquarters or major operations to Florida last year. Among those listed include pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which created a global capacity hub in Tampa; InnovaCare, which moved its headquarters from New York to Orlando; and battery tech firm Microvast, which opened its new R&D facility in Orlando.

The report also lists several firms that have created hundreds of new jobs through expansions. It also points to several Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Florida solidifying it as a business powerhouse. They include Publix Super Markets, AutoNation, Fidelity National Financial, Carrier Global, Chewy and Ryder System, among others.

The CEOs and business owners surveyed in the report point to helpful programs in the state, including two tax credits.

The Capital Investment Tax Credit offers an annual corporate income tax credit for up to 20 years for projects that create a minimum of 100 jobs and invest at least $25 million in eligible capital costs. The Research and Development Tax Credit offers a credit of up to 10% of the excess qualified research expenses. The Urban Job Tax Credit Program offers between $500 and $2,000 per qualified job for eligible businesses located in specific urban areas.

Other helpful programs, according to the magazine, include those helping veterans, those focusing on clean energy, and those in rural communities.

The Veterans Business Training Grant offers matching grants of up to $8,000 per veteran employee trained in high-demand fields.

The High Impact Performance Incentive offers a grant for projects in clean energy, life sciences, financial services, corporate headquarters and other sectors that invest $50 million and create 50 new jobs over a three-year period.

The Rural Expansion Toolkit offers grant opportunities to rural communities to assist in a range of practices, including consulting, site preparedness, marketing and training.

The report also highlights Florida as a right to work state and its increased population growth as positive factors contributing to its ranking.

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