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MarketWatch at The Wall Street Journal has just called Utah the “brightest star” on the American flag. The reason? Independent research by Pollina Corporate Real Estate puts Utah at the top of its list of Ten Pro-Business States for 2012. The #1 ranking comes after three consecutive years at the second spot on the list.
“Another accolade for the Beehive State—the hits just keep coming. Our tradition of responsible fiscal management, low taxes and a strong workforce have fueled Utah’s predictable and stable business friendly environment,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “The Pollina Corporate #1 ranking is a testament to our pro-business climate and job creation in the private sector.”
In 2011, Herbert initiated a review of the State’s then 1,969 administrative rules. It resulted in the revision or elimination of some 368 rules that inhibited business growth. Then in January, Herbert challenged the Utah business community to create 100,000 jobs in 1,000 days. The State is on track to meet that goal, as the Governor remains focused on job growth and economic vitality now, and in the coming years.
“Utah is a great example of what enlightened and motivated political leadership can accomplish with a solid plan,” said Brent Pollina, vice president of Pollina Corporate Real Estate and co-author of the study.
The Pollina Top 10 study is considered a “Gold Standard” for evaluating states. The research identifies states with exemplary pro-business policies that counteract the effects of economic instability. The authors of the study point to Utah as a guidepost, not only for other state governments, but also for the federal government.
According to the report’s co-author, Utah is the first state west of the Mississippi to rank #1, affirming the Beehive State’s role as a regional leader at the “Crossroads of the West” in several key areas of economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship.
At the same time, Utah has positioned itself as a leader in export growth and export intensity, in part as a result of the deep collaboration between private sector exporting companies and the State’s commitment to growing Utah’s presence in the international marketplace.
“Utah first broke into Pollina’s Top Ten study several years ago. Governor Herbert’s leadership has fostered the success that has elevated Utah to its #1 ranking,” said Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “Utah maintains a strong public-private collaboration, budgetary discipline and a commitment to an ongoing talent pipeline.”
The Pollina Corporate annual study was co-published with the American Economic Development Institute. The comprehensive report analyzes a state’s pro-business environment across 32 individual measures that state governments control, including taxation, human resources, economic incentive programs and state economic development efforts.
Specific measures that helped determine Utah’s top ranking included right-to-work legislation, business tax structures, energy costs and educational attainment rates.