If 736 chief executive officers had their druthers, they’d rather operate in 41 other states before setting up shop in Pennsylvania.
Each year, Chief Executive magazine asks hundreds of CEOs to evaluate the national business climate on a state-by-state basis. The magazine’s editor-in-chief, J.P. Donlon, said that the annual ranking feature provides a holistic, qualitative view of states’ ability to attract and maintain businesses.
The three general criteria on which states are evaluated are a state’s tax and regulatory environment, the quality of a state’s workforce, and the quality of living environment.
Pennsylvania ranked 42nd on the magazine's list.
Though the commonwealth offers many advantages, such as access to great schools and healthcare and a relatively low cost of living, Donlon said CEOs perceive the state bureaucracy as bloated and find the regulatory structure Draconian.
Citing Louisiana, Indiana and New Mexico as examples, Donlon said states must “attack” impediments to creating a culture that welcomes businesses. Specifically, he cited lowering the corporate net income tax — Pennsylvania’s is the highest in the nation at 9.99 percent — and streamlining the permitting and regulatory processes that businesses must navigate.