No. 1 for third time: Utah ranked top pro-business state

SALT LAKE CITY — For the third consecutive year, Utah has been recognized as the top pro-business state by Pollina Corporate based on 32 factors controlled by state government.

Gov. Gary Herbert said:

Cultivating an environment where businesses can thrive has been a significant focus of our economic development efforts. It’s one thing to win once, but to consistently rank in the top spot show something special is going on here. I am proud of the hard work being done by the private sector that has resulted in Utah being recognized once again by Pollina Corporate.

As rankings go, receiving a top title from Pollina Corporate carries a lot of weight, according to a press release from Gov. Herbert’s office. The study is considered the most comprehensive, unbiased and unvarnished by the economic development industry. The factors used to evaluate states include: taxes, human resources, education, right-to-work legislation, energy costs, infrastructure spending, regulatory environment, workers compensation laws, economic incentive programs and economic development efforts.

Utah scored well in high school and college completion, unemployment rate and workers compensation, to name a few, according to the press release. The state also scored very strongly across all tax categories.

Pollina noted some areas where Utah can still improve, such as teacher compensation, incentives and college funding per student.

In Utah we are always working to improve,” Sophia DiCaro, interim executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said. “For example, our incentives are based on post-performance criteria and may not be as monetarily generous as other states, but businesses choose to locate in Utah because they recognize the combination of our workforce, business friendly regulatory environment, competitive incentives, low operating costs and high quality of life are unparalleled.”

Regardless of Utah’s No. 1 ranking, the state is constantly looking for ways to build on its success in economic development . To that end, the State of Utah is extending its incentive and business services programs into rural Utah communities through the Business Expansion and Retention, or BEAR, program in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development-Rural Development Office. This program proactively reaches out to rural community and government leaders to identify key economic development opportunities that will benefit local communities, according to the press release. The BEAR program then allows Utah to implement its full quiver of resources, including the post-performance Rural Fast Track grant program, which can award up to $50,000, to successfully jump-start economic development projects.

“A true success story, under Governor Gary Herbert’s leadership, Utah #1 has held the top position for the third year in a row. In 2005, Utah ranked #23 and by 2012 it ranked #1 moving up in rank 22 places in only seven years,” Brent Pollina, vice president of Pollina Corporate and co-author of the study, said. “Utah is a great example of what enlightened and motivated political leadership can accomplish with a solid plan. Like the early Utah pioneers, the recent political leaders of Utah have relied on their own “industry” to prosper.”

Part of Utah’s success can be attributed to the cohesive partnership between the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah.

“The EDCUtah-GOED partnership succeeds because of the way we mutually uphold our standards,” Jeff Edwards, president and CEO of EDCUtah, said. “This coordination translates directly to our success in planning and transparency as we work to grow Utah’s economy.”

The Pollina Corporate annual 50-state ranking indicates how each state has positioned itself to retain and create jobs and sustain America’s middle class. Now in its 11th edition, the study has also become an important tool for corporations to evaluate their current and future U.S. locations.

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  • Really? July 17, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I guess when you allow the company’s to screw the workforce, it makes Utah a good place to start a company.

    • Brian July 17, 2014 at 10:38 am

      Blah, blah, blah. Utah is a business-friendly state, it’s true. Utah doesn’t give unions power to ram their “services” down workers throats (by sending their thugs before and after an “open” vote where everyone knows how you voted). But if workers want to unionize they are free to. Utah has reasonable tax rates for businesses and individuals (would you rather we were like California, where they are driving businesses out in droves?). Utah also has a great work force, with an incredibly high bi-lingual population ( due to those filthy Mormon’s forcing all their kids to go on missions ) and above-average honesty and work ethic. And arguably below-average hang-overs on Monday mornings. What was your complaint again?

  • St. George Resident July 17, 2014 at 11:35 am

    “above-average honesty and work ethic”

    I seriously snorted my beverage when I read this. You must be smoking some really good stuff!

  • Bob July 17, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    It’s business friendly because employers can treat employees like disposable garbage and some of the lowest wages in the country.

    • BOB's Buddy July 18, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      I bet you think you are owed something.. don’t you Bob?

  • Speakthetruth July 18, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Brian is right. I moved here several years ago from a southern state that only has minimum wage jobs and a government check available to the people that live there. It is a union state (democrat) state so the possibility of anything good going there is slim. @ Really and Bob I suggest you try California or Atlanta, or even New Orleans. I’m sure they will welcome your tax dollars there while you try to make a living at Mickey D’s. And, having lived in the three places I mentioned I can attest to the character and morality of the people there and I’ll take Utah every time.

  • JJ July 18, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    I’d be more interested in the results of a quality of life study or happiness study. Being “business friendly” by itself doesn’t mean anything to me.

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