6/28/2017 - Virginia rises in national site selection ranking

Virginia has been ranked No. 6 among the Top 10 States in Site Selection magazine’s 2017 Prosperity Cup, tying with Ohio. The showing represents a seven spot jump from No. 13 in 2016.

In comments on the ranking Wednesday, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore said,  “It is gratifying to see Virginia climbing higher on the Prosperity Cup ladder for economic development competitiveness. The new Virginia economy initiatives launched in 2014 to strengthen and diversify our economy and lessen our reliance on federal funds are working …”

The No. 1 state was neighboring North Carolina. It tied with Texas for the top spot in 2016 and placed first in 2015. While passage of a controversial “bathroom bill” in 2016 sparked a negative backlash, with canceled business relocations and expansions, factors in place that had caused North Carolina to rank well are still intact, according to Site Selection magazine.

Plus, the state’s legislature repealed HB2 in late March, the bill that required people at government-run facilities to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate. One feature, though, was kept intact, giving the legislature control of the regulation of bathroom access, which prevents local governments from enacting their own ordinances. 

Despite the furor over the bill, Site Selection said in a story about its rankings that North Carolina “still has one of the most educated workforces in the U.S.; a temperate climate; two international airports, including a major hub for American Airlines at Charlotte, which is also a top financial center; three coastal ports; a desirable mid-Atlantic location; top research universities and community colleges and a 3 percent corporate income tax rate — the lowest such rate east of the Mississippi other than Ohio, which imposes a gross receipts tax in lieu of corporate income tax.”

The Prosperity Cup determines states’ competitiveness based on several factors: new and expanded facilities, job creation, capital investment, and tax climate. In addition, it considers each state’s rank in the corporate real estate executive survey portion of the 2016 Site Selection Top U.S. Business Climates ranking, its performance in the Beacon Hill Institute’s State Competitiveness Report and the number of national career readiness certificates per 1,000 residents aged 18-64.

Site Selection debuted its Top Competitive States ranking in 2002. In 2016, the ranking became known as the Prosperity Cup.

Virginia also did well overall in the South Atlantic regional ranking, coming in No. 3 behind North Carolina and Georgia.

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