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Forbes ranks NC second on best states for business list

Nov. 16. [UPDATE 6 pm] North Carolina is No. 2 again this year on Forbes magazine’s Best States for Business list, while Utah came in first for the third straight year. Forbes’ Best States for Business list factors in 40 metrics from 17 sources across six broad categories including business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. Florida was the biggest riser, up eight places to No. 12, while Kentucky had the biggest drop, down nine places to 38. Forbes ranked West Virginia as the worst state for business, coming in behind Alaska, Mississippi and Maine. It is the second straight year bringing up the rear for the state.

North Carolina generated national headlines with House Bill 2, the Republican-driven state law blocking a Charlotte ordinance that allows people to use public restrooms based on the gender with which they identify. Opponents have criticized the new state law as discriminatory; companies like PayPal have bailed out of plans to open operations here.

Nevertheless, Republicans over the last five-plus years boosted North Carolina to one of the most attractive places in the country to do business. Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who was elected in 2012, helped enact a variety of policy reforms that promoted business. McCrory’s job is on the line, however, due to HB2 and his support of the plan to use toll lanes operated by a Spanish company to widen I-77 between Charlotte and Lake Norman.

Cornelius Town Commissioner Dave Gilroy said this is the first time he has ever voted for a Democrat—McCrory’s opponent Roy Cooper. The reason, Gilroy said, was McCrory’s stance on the toll lanes on I-77. Cooper’s lead over McCrory has grown to about 5,400 votes as late absentee ballots and provisional ballots are counted.

How North Carolina fares on Forbes’ list next year is anybody’s guess.

Forbes Top 10 Best States for Business in 2016

  1. Utah
  2. North Carolina
  3. Nebraska
  4. Texas
  5. Colorado
  6. Virginia
  7. Georgia
  8. North Dakota
  9. Washington
  10. South Dakota


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