The 2021 Top States for Doing Business

Steven Kaelble, Staff Editor, for Area Development released an article: “The 2021 Top States for Doing Business Reflect Their Locational Advantages”

Below you will find snippets from the article relative to our area! 

Overall Cost of Doing Business

It would be tough to become the overall top state for doing business if your costs were out of hand, so it’s hardly surprising that our top state is also the leader in the category of overall cost of doing business. Georgia is the cost leader for the second year in a row. Tennessee and Texas are perennial top performers for their overall business costs, and they place next in the rankings, tied this time with South Carolina.

Site-Readiness Programs

We’re living in a strange time when you may have to wait and wait to obtain furniture, certain computer chips, appliances, and some new vehicles (and who can forget toilet paper shortages?). By contrast, it’s nice to find a great spot for development that is ready to go, with a head start on the necessary due diligence, infrastructure, and approvals.

Tennessee helps make this dream come true with well-regarded site-readiness initiatives, landing once again in first place in this category. What are sometimes called “shovel-ready sites” are known here as Certified Sites, and they’re all over the state, from a nearly 2,000-acre mega-site in middle Tennessee, to one more than double that size near Memphis, to smaller and mid-sized sites in every corner of Tennessee.

Available Real Estate

You can’t have site readiness if you don’t first have good available sites, so we asked our experts about this basic category, as well. Texas and Georgia tie for top honors when it comes to available real estate. Tennessee is an excellent choice for available real estate, too (and as mentioned above, much of that real estate is primed and ready to develop).

Cooperative and Responsive State Government

And then there are the factors that collectively can be seen as the “welcome mat” states place at the doorsteps of companies doing business within their borders. Some of this is reasonably measurable, such as the tax burden, and some of this is more of a subjective gut feel regarding which states are the most eager and welcoming, the best able to make helpful introductions on the local level, and the most willing to go the extra mile in tailoring incentive and training programs.

Our top five this year for most cooperative and responsive state government are the same as last year, with the order a bit shuffled. Tennessee moves up to second place, placing at or near the top of various rankings of business friendliness and positive climate.

Corporate Tax Environment

Speaking of cooperative, one of the most cooperative things a state can do is not be too burdensome with taxes. Lots of states boast about a business-friendly environment from the perspective of taxes, but our experts rank Texas as the best in this category. Rounding out the top five are Nevada and North Carolina, tied for third, and Tennessee in fifth place.

Favorable Regulatory Environment

Benjamin Franklin said nothing is certain except death and taxes, yet the previous category disproves the part about taxes, at least in some states. What about red tape? That feels like pretty much a certainty, too, but our final two categories highlight states that have found a cure for the most common hassles of location and expansion. Tennessee places sixth.

Speed of Permitting

Last but not least is the speed at which the permitting process moves. Permitting can be a nightmarish hassle, and it’s one of the things that states try to take care of in advance when they create shovel-ready locations.

Generally speaking, the Southern States are the speediest when it comes to permitting: Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, and Louisiana.

Click here to read the entire article, with more information regarding energy availability and cost along with logistics and infrastructure information,