Florida dropped one spot in Site Selection magazine's 2016 best business climate ranking over 2015, from No. 10 to No. 11.
Most of the states Florida looks up at on the list are the usual best business climate standard-bearers: Georgia, which ranked No. 1, and North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee all made the top five. Georgia took the top spot in the national ranking for the fourth year in a row. The state got there partially through a list of corporate relocation victories big enough to make Florida economic development officials drool. The list includes:
Health benefits company Anthem, which plans to create an IT services hub in Midtown Atlanta;
Computer electronics firm NCR Corp., which is spending $145 million to expand its already large presence in the state with a new headquarters facility, also in Midtown Atlanta;
Sentury Tire, the fifth-largest and fastest-growing tire manufacturer in China, will create more than 1,000 jobs and invest $530 million in a car and light truck tire manufacturing operation in Troup County, in west-central Georgia, on the Alabama state line.
Half of the magazine's overall score for each state stems from a survey of corporate site selectors who rank the states based on their recent experience there with a corporate relocation project. The other half comes from an index of seven criteria, including expansion projects in 2015; total projects in 2015 per capita; total 2016 projects year-to-date; total 2016 projects year-to-date per capita; and state tax burdens on mature firms and on new firms.
One surprise for Florida: It ranked mediocre in tax burdens, with a No. 19 rank in taxes on mature firms and a No. 36 rank in taxes on new companies. That goes against the Sunshine State's national image for being a low tax haven. The top 10 of the list includes:
State Total points
North Carolina 94
South Carolina 84