Survey: Minnesota is 6th best state for business


Minnesota ranks 6th in a new survey of the top states for business conducted by CNBC. That compares to the state's ranking of 15th a year ago.

CNBC, a business cable TV network, has released the rankings for the past eight years, scoring each state on 56 different measures of competitiveness. Those measures are then sorted into 10 broad categories, such as the cost of doing business, infrastructure, workforce, education and quality of life that were used to determine the rankings.

In those 10 categories, Minnesota ranked high in overall economy (fifth), infrastructure (fifth), quality of life (fourth), access to capital (11th), and technology and innovation (11th).

However, Minnesota ranked much lower in other categories, including the cost of doing business (38th), the cost of living (28th) and the state's workforce (30th). These scores were lower in general because they took into account Minnesota's tax rates, wage rates, and level of union membership.

CNBC had this to say about Minnesota:

"The Land of 10,000 Lakes offers a superior quality of life, a vibrant economy and a robust infrastructure. On the flip side: High taxes have businesses swimming in expenses."

Georgia was first in the study, followed by Texas, Utah, Nebraska and North Carolina. Minnesota scored the highest of its neighboring states in the Upper Midwest. North Dakota ranked 10th, South Dakota was 11th, Iowa was 12th and Wisconsin was 17th.

Minnesota state officials are touting the results of the survey. Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben of the state Department of Employment and Economic Development, or DEED, said in a statement the survey "adds to the growing evidence that Minnesota is a great place to do business."

“This study recognizes our strong business climate, which is driving job growth and corporate expansions statewide,” Sieben said.

Of course, there are many surveys conducted by different organizations that come up with different results.

For example, another recent survey of Minnesota businesses found they are generally optimistic about the economy, and expect their revenue and profits will grow in the coming year.

The survey, conducted by DEED in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, recently polled 241 Minnesota firms including legal, public relations, engineering and accounting businesses.

According to the results, 82 percent of of those surveyed expect their profits to either increase or remain the same this year, up from 75 percent in 2013; while 52 percent of respondents expect to see increases in revenue compared to 46 percent last year.

A different report, out this week from accounting and analysis firm KPMG International, said the Twin Cities has a very competitive “overall tax structure for business,” the Star Tribune reports. The Twin Cities ranks eighth for “most competitive tax structure” among the 31 highest-ranked metro areas in the United States, KPMG said. Cincinnati and Cleveland ranked first and second.

Other groups paint a different picture of Minnesota's economic outlook. For example, the Tax Foundation's latest ranking of business tax climates puts Minnesota 47th out of the 50 states.

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